For many people using smartphones today 5G is simply an update to 4G, providing them with increased bandwidth, greater reach, and reduced latency.
While this analogy is certainly true, the underlying benefits of 5G go far beyond this.
In the end, while 4G network connectivity was a brilliant evolution for consumers, it is businesses that are set to draw greatest benefits as telcos deploy 5G networks.
For over a year-and-a-half now, the pandemic has seen thousands of firms explore hybrid working systems, a move that has brought into sharp focus the demand for high-quality, always-on connectivity systems.
5G networks provide an answer to this demand that will see even more corporations tap into big data as well as the power of Internet of Things (IoT).
During Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2021, Huawei Executive Director and President of Carrier BG Ryan Ding said operators have seen faster revenue growth in countries where 5G uptake is on the rise.
ICT infrastructure as the cornerstone of the digital economy, is playing an increasingly important role in the new normal created by the pandemic, Ding added.
“The rapid development of digital infrastructure driven by 5G will add EUR1.9 trillion to the Chinese economy in the next five years. We see the same in South Korea and Europe,” said Ding.
In March, tech giant Safaricom switched on 5G connectivity offering customers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega internet speeds of up to 700 megabits per second.
In the 5G to consumer market, Ding observed, there are three steps an operator can adopt to succeed.
The first is to speed up deployment with targeted network planning and investment based on precise insights into high-value areas, key scenarios, and potential users.
The second is to accelerate 5G user migration, and the third step is to create value-driven, flexible pricing models.
“During the pandemic, there is a growing demand for home broadband, and this has highlighted the advantages of 5G Fixed Wireless Access,” Ding observed.
Kenya is the second country on the continent after South Africa to deploy 5G.
Across the world, 5G has been applied in over 1,000 projects in more than 20 industries including steel and mining, enabling safer and more efficient production.
Ding said the lessons learnt from Chinese operators’ experience is that the success of 5G to Business depends on three factors.
First, it is by selecting the right industries. “Operators should choose target industries by looking at four aspects: demand, affordability, replicability, and technical feasibility,” he advised.
The second step entails operators defining the scope of their offerings.
Telco operators can serve as network providers that offer connectivity services as well as cloud service providers or even system integrators that provide end-to-end integration.
Finally, operators have to design innovative business models. “This is key to replicating 5GtoBusiness success at scale,” said Ding.