LIVE FROM 5G WORLD 2018, LONDON: 5G will lead to changes in the way that networks are built and monetised, with the possibility there will be a longer time before the introduction of the next generation, industry executives noted.

Shekar Ayyar, general manager of Telco NFV at VMware (pictured, centre), said 5G is “the catalyst for lots of points of convergence”.

“We see convergence in wireless and wireline, we see convergence in IT and the network edge, core and potentially radio as well. We also see convergence in cloud. What we find interesting about 5G is it is going to be the point in time where at least some subset of operators will become first-class citizens in the cloud economy.”

“Different service providers might attach themselves to different parts of this. Some might go all the way up to offering new services to compete with an OTT, others might offer their network as a service, and yet others might offer really just basic connectivity.”

Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks (pictured, second from left), noted that while there are differences in strategies, “the underlying thread that binds all these users or operators together is this desire to transform”.

“The two things that we think underline a big chunk of transformation in general are two very simple facts: networks have to be able to scale very quickly and economically, so we have to change that, and operators need to be able to innovate at a much quicker pace. Those two drivers are changing the way people not only build their networks, but how they manage them and monetise them.”

This week, operator Telia announced a partner programme for Swedish companies which want to explore new technologies and business models. The first company signing up was Volvo Construction Equipment.

Mats Lundback, CTO of Telia Sweden (pictured, second from right), said: “The tricky thing for us as an operator is that in the country we have more or less all companies and all individuals as potential customers. So it’s about picking who to work with.”

“3G was five or six years too early, because of the lack of iPhones, basically, and apps. 4G was, from our perspective, even if we were first in the world, was two years too late. But that was our traditional operating case – mobile broadband – driving that. It was a no brainer. With 5G, the growth is in this industrial development, enterprise processes, and public safety.”

Paul Doany, CEO of Turk Telekom (pictured, right), noted that with the company’s strong base in the fixed line market, 5G will be a “great opportunity” for it to grow its mobile position. He noted 5G deployments will initially be “spotty”, based around traffic hotspots, meaning its fibre network will be an important asset.

The executive also talked about how it would work with other mobile operators looking to deploy 5G. “Coming from the incumbent side, we are offering long-term commitments to other operators to help them with their 5G provisioning, and that’s something I think other fixed telcos should be prepared to do.”

Sharing infrastructure and leasing assets will be important in the 5G era, Doany said, because duplication in this market “can be dangerous, because of the cost”.

‏Lundback noted 5G will be a long game: “In five years, we will still be in the creation phase, building these new ecosystems and new types of services.”

Ayyar said: “I think it will be not quite as often that we will see new generations come up after 5G. I think the investment in 5G will need to be monetised for quite some time.”