PARTNER FEATURE: Li Peng, Corporate Senior Vice President, President of ICT Sales and Service at Huawei, highlighted in a presentation at its sixth 5G Summit the vast opportunity 5G services open up across both the retail and enterprise segments by providing multi-dimensional experiences to help operators maximise the value of their infrastructure investments.

Li said 5G is the fastest growing mobile technology ever, with some 300 operators in more than 100 countries deploying commercial networks in less than five years. Global 5G connections totalled 1.5 billion at end-2023; 4G reached that figure in seven years.

While about 20 per cent of global mobile subscribers use 5G service, the technology generates nearly 30 per cent of all mobile traffic and accounts for more than 40 per cent of service revenue.

“These data points show 5G is certainly on the right path to business success,” Li stated.

With mobile operators across the world eager to find new ways to monetise their 5G investments and boost revenue, he suggested high-quality networks are still the foundation of business success. It is no surprise more operators are proposing ambitious plans to deploy 5G networks to improve the user experience and monetise data traffic.

Many operators in the Middle East, for example, have built nationwide 5G Massive MIMO networks, driving the success of 5G FWA in the region, with nearly 3 million households connections, he noted. Compared with 4G home broadband, 5G FWA increased DOU three-fold and ARPU by 30 per cent.

He argued 5G is about more than just monetising data traffic.

Compared with LTE, 5G delivers ten-times faster speeds at a much lower cost-per-bit, which has helped increase return on investment in both the consumer and home broadband markets.

“Multi-dimensional monetisation is opening up new opportunities,” he stated, giving the example of the shift to speed-based pricing, charging different rates for different speed tiers, which has boosted ARPU and led to increases in post-paid subscribers. Operators in Switzerland, Austria, UAE and Thailand are taking this path.

Another new source of revenue is offering users higher speeds in hotspots for a set amount of time and targeting live streamers with plans that guaranteed uplink rates, leading to a 70 per cent jump in ARPU in one market.

B2B success
Operators in China also are pushing uptake of 5G services in the enterprise space, generating $3 billion from private 5G networks.

Autonomous vehicles are seeing widespread adoption supported by gigabit uplink rates and stable latency which 5.5G networks can deliver.

“Very soon 5.5G’s new capabilities, such as deterministic latency, precise positioning and passive IoT, will create more opportunities for operators in the B2B market.”

Generative AI technology will drive the mobile industry into “the era of all intelligence”, he noted.

IDC forecasts shipments of AI smartphones to reach 170 million at end-2024, accounting for 15 per cent of global shipments.

“Next-generation AI phones will have more powerful storage, displays and imaging functions. Together with AI-generated content applications, AI-powered handsets will help generate 100 billion gigabytes of content, bringing trillions of gigabytes of traffic to mobile networks.”

Li believes 5G’s greatest strength is its ability to deliver multi-dimensional experiences, which gives operators an opportunity to maximise the value of every bit.

He noted these are just a few examples showing how migrating more users and traffic to 5G is driving solid revenue gains. “With 5G-Advanced around the corner, the possibilities are endless. To make the most of them, we need to build today’s networks for tomorrow’s applications.”