Total Telecom’s latest webinar, entitled ‘Monetising 5G: Product, pricing, and business model innovation’ saw the expert panel dissect the ways in which operators’ mindsets must change to capitalise on 5G

Despite the pandemic, 2020 saw the rollout of 5G in numerous markets around the world, offering high capacity, low latency connectivity to millions of people. However, the process of deploying 5G was and remains expensive, forcing telcos to carefully consider how they will recoup their investments from the new technology, particularly when expanding into new verticals.

In Total Telecom’s recent webinar, ‘Monetising 5G: Product, pricing, and business model innovation’, the discussion around monetisation quickly evolved into a discussion of new partnerships and the challenges surrounding working in sectors previously untouched by the telecoms industry. From healthcare to manufacturing, the demand for high quality connectivity is abundant, but effectively meeting these organisations’ specific demands can be a lengthy process.

“To really leverage the value, scale, and power of 5G, we need to be more agile in how we onboard new partners,” explained John Vickery, Principal Technology Partner at BT. “Traditionally, we’re making big strategic investments with strategic vendor partnerships, which can take a long time to work through the tender process – we’re used to that long lead time. What we need to be able to do with 5G innovation and monetisation is to change the model, so that we act in a much more agile way to onboard and integrate those new partners into our system stacks.”

Much of the shift in mindset this requires is underpinned by the oft-repeated mantra: ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. These enterprises will have needs that telcos have simply never encountered before and will require technical innovation to deliver solutions for. To achieve this goal, telcos will need effective dialogue, new partnerships, and collaboration, diversifying their businesses and integrating themselves with the major players from disparate enterprise sectors.

Vickery himself summed it up best when talking from BT’s perspective saying “for us, we’re playing where we’ve got the experience and partnering where we need the support.”

But these new partnerships are only part of the business model transformation telcos must undertake to make the most of 5G. Much of the shift must be internal, with the recognition that the advent of 5G engenders a shift from traditional telco roles into the realm of IT.

“5G is a blend between the telco and IT worlds. On one hand, you have the best of both worlds – you have the speed of IT and the reliability of the telco, but it also takes time to understand how to handle these complex new capabilities,” said Umberto Ferrero, VP of 5G at TIM explained. “You have to be like a juggler. You have to handle not only all the functionalities of 5G, but also the technologies of your new customers.”

“As the technology and standards evolve and we see a much closer relationship between the network and the IT elements, the organisations that deploy the software have to evolve as well,” added Mark Bunn, VP Product at Oracle.

Ferrero notes manufacturing as a prime example of an industry that has clear benefits associated with 5G in the form of gained efficiencies from automation, machine learning, and the IoT, but it brings with it its own technical challenges. As Ferrero puts it, “you must learn to speak new protocols.”

Of course, one of the major challenges to working with these new partners is scalability. Thankfully, the migration to the cloud is serving to simplify this process, making scaling far less of an issue than it has been in the past and opening the door to new services.

“The network function virtualisation (NFV) initiative really had much more of a focus on cost containment than on innovation,” said Bunn. “I think we’re in a much better place today because that NFV discussion has turned to a cloud native discussion, which creates more opportunities to scale up and scale down – not just networks, but also applications.”

“I’m convinced that cloud native is not only an enabler of these technologies but of future revenue streams,” he concluded.


The webinar is available to watch in full on demand. Register here now

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