How does your 5G strategy measure up?

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This article was originally published to the Nokia blog by Jai Thattil on March 18, 2019.

Predictably, the topic of 5G cropped up everywhere at Mobile World Congress. During a hectic week in Barcelona, I talked to many people about 5G and came away with the impression that many operators are struggling to get to grips with this major step in our industry. And if operators are finding it difficult, then vertical industries, where 5G will play a major role, are likely to face major challenges.

But what is the true status of operators when it comes to 5G? And how best can they prepare their businesses?

To find out, Nokia worked with Analysys Mason to survey operators’ readiness for 5G and reveal insights to help them understand the current 5G market and how it is evolving.

The 5G Maturity index (5GMi) study is the world’s first benchmark of the maturity of 5G operators. It researched more than 50 leading Tier 1 and 2 operators across the globe to identify key technology and business factors for 5G success.

While most operators achieve relatively low scores for their business and technology maturity, a few, more advanced operators do much better.

Cautious strategic ambitions

Many operators remain cautious in their strategic ambitions for 5G. Most plan to improve what they already offer, with more than 70 percent using 5G to enhance existing consumer services such as mobile broadband, rather than building more advanced solutions.

Consumer-related 5G use cases are among the most common chosen by operators in each region. ‘Improved customer experience for current services’ was the most common 5G objective, chosen by 18 percent of operators.

Despite this, there are grounds for optimism, with a few operators, mainly from Europe, North America and developed markets in Asia-Pacific, pulling away from the low maturity pack. These more mature 5G operators score well in communication strategies, platform and ecosystem thinking, but also in automation vision and digital transformation.

Overall, high scorers have a good communication strategy and are closely linking 5G with their digital transformation.

Many services, no 5G killer app

The world’s most 5G-mature operators are pursuing multiple services, typically focusing on six to eight 5G-enabled use cases. The most popular 5G use cases include enhanced connectivity, media/content, augmented and virtual reality, healthcare, connected vehicles, smart city and smart home services. Operators planning early 5G commercial launches are the readiest when it comes to network virtualization and cloud-based deployments.

The 5G Maturity Index also reveals that two-thirds of operators expect 5G to create new revenue streams.

The report of the study’s findings recommends that operators:

  • Ensure 5G plans relate directly to the organization’s most strategic objectives
  • Develop an ecosystem to help deliver new 5G-enabled services
  • Explore a wide range of 5G services and have the flexibility to adapt to an unexpected use case.

The study is extensive and covers a large number of criteria to understand the 5G maturity of operators. Get more insights by downloading the white paper.

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