Operators have accelerated their 5G preparations over the past year and are now much further along in addressing the technical challenges of the technology, according to a new Ericsson study.
The Sweden-based vendor’s latest 5G Readiness survey, which is based on responses by 50 executives from 37 operators around the world, indicated 78 per cent were now involved with trialling the technology.
This is more than double the figure for the same question in the 2016 edition of the survey (32 per cent) and was one of many statistics indicating operators have moved forward on 5G with “increased urgency” in 2017.
Ericsson found only 2 per cent of respondents are now involved in the early preparation of 5G compared with 34 per cent in 2016, while 14 per cent are still engaging with initial planning (22 per cent in 2016). Both figures are unsurprising given the number of companies already involved in trials.
Roughly 33 per cent of respondents did, however, confess to waiting on other operators’ implementation before engaging in their own rollouts.
But, highlighting the increasing readiness of the industry, 28 per cent said they expect to deploy 5G solutions in 2018, an increase of 10 per cent over 2016 when only 18 per cent said they would deploy in 2018.
Consumer market saturated
In addition to providing an insight into a company’s 5G activities and development, the study also looked into evolving business strategies, potential use cases and ways operators expect to monetise the technology.
With regards to business strategy, respondents indicated they are now looking beyond the consumer market, which is becoming increasing saturated, and planning for 5G is becoming more targeted at specialised industries.
As a result, the latest results for this segment of the survey presented a more even split compared with 2016: 58 per cent said 5G planning was focused on industry segments, 56 per cent cited business users as the target, while consumers made up 52 per cent.
In 2016, 90 per cent said they were focused on consumers and just 34 per cent put specialised industry segments in their planning.
When it comes to monetising 5G, 64 per cent of respondents agreed raising rates for consumers would not cut it, as they “are simply tapped out”.
Instead, the industry will need to find new revenue sharing models for 5G, while IoT was also tipped to play a major role in finding revenue by 86 per cent of respondents.