Are you ready for 5G?

Eduardo Castañon

Global Business Director – Telecoms, Media, Technology Industry, Atos

Are you ready for 5G?

These are exciting times for the telecom industry. The advent of 5G will revolutionize the telecom and technology market.

The fifth generation (5G) of wireless networks transforms opportunities for people and businesses. Not only does it offer speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, but it also creates new possibilities for industries to conduct real-time activities thanks to the low latency and general quality of service it provides.

Companies are in a race to generate significant new value while transforming into next-generation digital enterprises: 5G adoption rates are three times faster than those for 4G.1 At the same time, the climate emergency demands that companies accelerate decarbonization of operations and supply chains to meet net zero targets.

So, how can telecom operators take advantage of key technologies to optimize efficiency while modernizing to monetize 5G? And what can they do to get closer to customers and drive value beyond connectivity?

Network modernization

A recent report2 predicted that operators will invest $1.1 trillion globally between 2020 and 2025 on networks across all mobile technology generations, with 5G accounting for about 80% of that spend.

As operators build out 5G connectivity, they’re exploring opportunities to optimize their total cost of ownership; coverage and capacity are the most relevant elements, representing most of 5G network investment, to launch new services faster.

Network (RAN and core) virtualization, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the most important areas to explore to optimize capital investment; they provide operators with as much agility, cost-efficiency, and flexibility as possible to adapt rapidly to the market demands.

Virtualizing and automating

With 5G network slicing, operators can build virtual networks that are specially designed for the kinds of applications that business customers need – for entertainment, manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, education and so on. Application subsystems can have their own dedicated slice of the mobile network, with guaranteed bandwidth, low latency, and availability that customers require.

To lay the groundwork for network slicing and 5G, operators will continue to invest significantly in Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and network automation in the coming years. Network automation is itself evolving to become truly end to end, enabling the shift to zero-touch operations.

Orchestration and AI

As networks deploy 5G to enable the Internet of Things (IoT), the number of systems involved increases considerably as millions of devices connect to the network and share information. The extraction of data and the enablement of business applications require the ability to collect, analyze, and leverage all the massive information generated to provide an optimal experience to businesses and consumers.

AI provides support to make the operation of networks and systems more efficient by providing different levels of automation to reduce time and adapt rapidly to constantly changing market environments. And as a service offering and market demand evolve, configuring, coordinating, and managing all network systems and resources becomes critical. This gives digital services partners, together with telecom operators, an important orchestration role in order to secure service availability.

Evolving 5G ecosystem

As more and more applications will demand lower latency, higher speeds, and better quality of service, 5G is systematically introducing edge computing into network architectures to process data faster and closer to the user; by 2025, 80% of all data is expected to be processed at the edge, bringing a completely different way of delivering services in the market.

The evolution of a 5G partner ecosystem and collaborative data platforms will be crucial to driving growth as more players get involved in the value chain to create new services and secure end-user experience.

From self-driving cars to smart campuses, 5G will help shape the world over the next decade. Therefore, telecom service providers are operating at the intersection of rapid market and technological changes that impact every sector.

The future of 5G is inextricably linked with that of businesses, communities, and society. All participants (telecom operators, partners and customers) need to play a role in guiding, securing and accelerating the realization of that future together.

So, are you ready for 5G?

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