INTERVIEW: BT Group chief security and network officer Howard Watson (pictured) indicated there are signs of life for money-spinning enterprise 5G use cases, though conceded this has taken longer to materialise than the industry had hoped. 

During a wide-ranging interview at MWC Barcelona 2024, Watson told Mobile World Live the company was seeing “great usage” of its 5G network from consumers and was “starting to see a little bit of green shoots of the promise of enterprise use cases”, describing the latter as “where the money will hopefully be”.  

“I think the whole industry would say that’s come a bit later than we’d hoped.”

The executive highlighted BT was “getting ready for a really good” standalone 5G launch, which is earmarked to happen later this year and likely to open a range of new use cases.

Open RAN delay
Another highly-hyped architecture in the industry is open RAN, an approach Watson believes will start to be used more widely “towards the end of the decade”.

“We’re very active in parts of it,” he said. “We’re part of the O-RAN Alliance, we’ve done research, we’re experimenting with the RIC part of it. I just don’t yet see it as the real vehicle increasing the supplier diversity.”

He expressed confidence open RAN “will come”, adding he is “probably taking more of a watching brief than a leading brief on it”.  

To view the full interview, which includes the executive’s insight on the types of security risks facing today’s networks, click here.