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5G Growth Opportunities for Service Providers

With more than 200 5G networks currently in commercial service and a continuously growing 5G subscriber base, it seems 5G is on a solid growth path, despite factors that may threaten to hold it back, such as an economic slowdown. A special Business Review edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report was recently released, and it discusses topics like 5G revenue growth opportunities, the role 5G is playing in driving new opportunities and services, 5G’s role in the enterprise, and the opportunity for 5G FWA (fixed wireless access) in depth.

Ericsson’s data suggests global data consumption has increased by more than 50% per year during the past five years. And the growth rate in the top 20 5G markets isn’t slowing down. In fact, it continues to match the global average, suggesting even those markets with already relatively high data consumption continue to grow at the same pace as those with relatively lower data consumption rates. Going forward, the report highlights three areas of growth to watch in the 5G space: core connectivity (including 5G FWA opportunities, mission-critical networks, and wide area IoT), current adjacencies (including private networks, wireless wide-area networks, and 5G for indoor spaces), and future innovations (including immersive experiences and augmented and virtual realities).

The report suggests service providers are coming off a period of slow or no growth, but that’s changing, and CSPs (communications service providers) must look for monetization opportunities to harness this new growth. Ericsson’s data points to upward trends in wireless service revenues that correlate with upward trends in 5G subscriptions. The company reports service providers are finding success with tiered pricing models, which can not only provide the best service for individual customers but also help ensure long-term revenue growth and a diversified and robust customer base. Segmentation is also a monetization strategy for the FWA market, Ericsson says, by combining multiple technologies, such as 4G, 5G, and CPE (customer premises equipment) alternatives, to create various speed tiers and price options.

Ericsson’s research puts FWA as the second biggest early 5G use case, particularly in regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets, according to the company’s November mobility report. The top early 5G use case is enhanced mobile broadband, which is growing thanks to more coverage in more places, as well as the continued introduction of 5G services. There remains a huge opportunity for revenue growth for providers serving consumers—a majority of whom haven’t yet moved over to 5G.

In the enterprise, too, the opportunities for 5G are immense, including the possibility of growing revenue and lowering costs, while also addressing sustainability. Ericsson’s report points to these value propositions as examples of what 5G can unlock for the enterprise sector—for instance, through private 5G networks and wireless wide area networks, which could make a tremendous impact in the industrial space and beyond.

Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks for Ericsson, says reoccurring themes in the space include revenue growth and sustainability, and 5G can help service providers attain both. The Ericsson Mobility Report offers some interesting information on what the opportunities are in 5G right now and how service providers are taking advantage of them—or how they should be taking advantage of them.

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