In its early days, 5G was, in many ways, not markedly different from advanced 4G in terms of networks and the services they delivered. However that’s changing quickly as operators move from non-standalone to standalone 5G and virtualize network functions on the way toward building a truly flexible, cloud-native network.
The technology shift is massive and will enable a move from a narrow focus on delivering enhanced mobile broadband to opening up a rich feature set, including massive IoT and URLLC, as well as the virtual network slices used to deliver these advanced capabilities to enterprises in many high-value verticals.
In parallel with this network transformation, operators and their partners are working to understand the specific needs of buyers in sectors such as manufacturing, health care, utilities, and the public sector—the relationship is changing from transactional to consultative as the ability for 5G to be tailored to meet the needs of very specific applications is made real.
Here we explore the technology and operational shifts that, when taken in tandem and projected forward, demonstrate the need for a holistic strategy that, beyond building out network capabilities, is focused on turning those capabilities into new, differentiated services that create revenue opportunity and a path to ROI.