What’s the recipe for 5G success?
In the Ericsson UnBoxed session – 5G live networks: innovation made reality – we shared some learnings from 5G network rollouts around the world. Here’s what we found.
By the end of Q1 2020, roughly 10 percent of 4G service providers had launched 5G networks, and these early movers are already seeing the return on their investment. Their focus has clearly been on improving existing consumer use cases and services, and creating new offerings for the consumer market. So far, they’ve seen a positive impact on their business, and by the end of 2019, there were over 13 million 5G subscribers globally. However, rolling out 5G networks is a complex process, both from a commercial and an operations perspective.
So, what have we collectively learnt from these early deployments, and what’s the secret recipe for 5G success?
Embrace 5G as an innovation platform
“5G is not just another faster G, it is an innovation platform. To capture the 5G business potential efficiently, front runners are looking at service-based packaging, and bundling with devices beyond smartphones. They’re also using creative ways to share the 5G experience with consumers and businesses.
For example, in the US Verizon brought the Oscars from Hollywood to New York City with their 5G Red Carpet Portal Experience. Using a 360-degree camera placed on the red carpet in Los Angeles, people in New York stepped into Verizon’s 5G portal and were instantly immersed into the live action in Hollywood.
Packaging is also key. Many service providers are simply pricing 5G packages higher than their 4G ones, but new creative packages that offer extra value can really help them tap into the 5G consumer market.
We’ve also seen some great examples of this from service providers in South Korea. Here, some of the early 5G use cases are related to new digital consumer experiences, and service providers are exploring areas such as immersive media, live event experiences and cloud gaming. To get the most out of these services, they are sometimes bundled with new consumer devices, like AR and VR headsets.”
Think beyond use cases
“We’re learning from these initial rollouts that it’s important not just to think about use cases, but to think about use places. When building 5G networks, service providers need to think about where 5G services will matter most, and we recommend they build them with precision.”
Eva continues, “One example of a customer that’s thinking about use places is SKT in South Korea. SKT has applied a cluster-based 5G deployment strategy that targets areas with high population or office areas, as well as areas with high seasonal populations.
By doing this, innovative services are introduced with specific location needs in mind.
To achieve 5G ambitions both efficiently and economically, SK Telecom is “building 5G with precision.” This is an Ericsson network rollout strategy that entails optimizing the network build by matching the right capabilities of Ericsson’s diverse RAN portfolio with the specific traffic and coverage requirements of each network radio site, and each SK Telecom market segment. Building with precision reduces a network operators’ capital and operating expenses. Another example of “building with precision” is VodafoneZiggo in The Netherlands, who recently launched 5G using only existing 4G bands with Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and covered half of the country from day 1, and have nationwide coverage planned for July 2020.
The final ingredient: an ecosystem, not an ego system
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that 5G relies upon an ecosystem of partners, not egos. Eva explains:
“I can’t stress enough that 5G is a collaboration game, and to reap the full benefits of 5G, service provider front runners are approaching the 5G network as an innovation platform to build new use cases for consumers and businesses with other partners.
For Ericsson, this means establishing partnerships that help drive this innovation. For example, we recently collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies and NVIDIA to bring a new VR solution to the market. It’s a combination of devices, content, 5G access networks, edge computing and high-performance distributed 5G Core capabilities that make these innovations possible.”
Cecilia continues: “5G was designed for business and working in an ecosystem – not an ego system – is even more important as move into 5G for business use cases.”
Some examples that demonstrate how collaboration is key to 5G success include partnerships between Ericsson and Telstra, Lexus Australia and the local Victorian government and Telefónica and Mercedes-Benz.
What can service providers really expect from 5G?
“Service providers can expect 5G to be an intensive learning journey, which takes them and their customers forward gradually. There is no elevator straight to the top floor, you have to take the stairs, step by step. So, my advice would be not to wait, and to start now,” says Eva.
Cecilia continues: “What’s exciting with 5G is that it’s not just another G. With 5G, there is always an “and”. For example, 5G addresses both consumer and business opportunities, and 5G can deliver both mobile and fixed wireless broadband. The broad portfolio of the 5G spectrum allows us to combine coverage, capacity, and creativity with a single versatile technology. In the early 4G days, we had to choose between X and Y; but for 5G, we don’t. This is a reason for us all to be excited about 5G’s potential.”
View this video and see what Eva and Cecilia says in the Ericsson UnBoxed session – 5G live networks: innovation made reality:
Explore more reference cases for 5G.