Webinar Review: 5G transformation necessitates individualised approaches and integrated strategies
Is it really too early to think about 5G deployment? For many it might seem so and it’s certainly a reasonable question to consider at this stage. However, even though standards aren’t set yet, the transformation required is so complex and multi-layered that now really is the time to get started, if you haven’t already done so. 5G is not simply another radio interface offering more capacity. It requires a lot of preparation in both business strategy and on the network side.
When, how and why to invest in 5G are also important questions so, in order to explore the issues associated with 5G preparation and examine how they can be addressed, VanillaPlus assembled a panel of speakers composed of Roberto Kompany, a senior analyst at Analysys Mason, Vikas Dhingra, a senior consultant at Bell Labs Consulting and Helmut Schober, the manager for strategic business development at Nokia.
Our webinar, which is available for playback here, began with a presentation from Kompany which provided the background to the challenges currently facing mobile operators. “Telecoms is having a bit of a pause,” acknowledged Kompany. “The declines in revenues have bottomed out and revenue is now flat, although we do see growth in some areas but, in general, profitability is improving. However, capex is flat so operators must prioritise their investments.”
With many demands being placed on limited operator investment resources, Kompany said that 5G has to make a business case for itself. “5G is on the horizon and it will happen at some point because leading operators need to differentiate, vendor push may be a factor and investors and users want to see it,” he explained. “On the other hand, there’s no obvious revenue case. There are use cases that people talk about such as virtual reality but we need to understand what the business model is, where the money is and what direction that flow of money has.”
Nevertheless, Analysys Mason projects that 92% of mobile operators will wait until after 2020 to invest in 5G networks. That relatively short delay means operators need to start planning now if they haven’t begun to do so already. “It’s important to start planning today and seek vendor support in developing a roadmap for 5G,” Kompany concluded.
Next to take the floor, Schoh, shared examples of 5G projects that Nokia is engaged in with leading operators. “5G is different because it creates an explosion of opportunities on top of their traditional businesses,” he said. “Exploring those requirements means some changes need to be made but, by deciding now on the likely use cases, operators can make sure they put the right foundations in place. It will be complex but 5G will lower their cost per bit and create more opportunities.”
Dhingra then explained how Nokia and Bell Labs Consulting have been looking into the dynamics of 5G introduction, performing techno-economic simulations to model typical 5G use cases. He went on to share details of a deployment by a tier one operator in the APAC region of Nokia’s 5G Acceleration Services for 5G Readiness. He explained how the scope was to define the 5G network architecture in that project and also detailed how Nokia is working with Korea Telecom to launch what is claimed to be the first 5G mobile – as opposed to fixed-wireless access – network. The operator is keen to have 5G in place, including at stadiums in Pyeongchang in time for the Winter Olympic Games which it hosts in 2018.
The floor was then opened to a vibrant Q&A session in which members of the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to all the panellists, but if you want to know what was asked you’ll need to listen to the webinar here!