CSPs are being cut out of enterprise 5G projects – study

A new bit of research conducted by Omdia and BearingPoint//Beyond has found that only a small proportion of B2B 5G deals are being done by operators.

This finding is somewhat counter-intuitive when you consider that most CSPs also expect most of their 5G revenues to come from sources other than consumers. You’d think they would be putting a bit more effort into getting chummy with the enterprise sector in that case, but maybe they are and they’re just rubbish at it.

“Only one in five early enterprise 5G deals are CSP-led, proving that the way CSPs want to sell is at odds with the way in which businesses want to buy,” said Angus Ward, CEO of BearingPoint//Beyond. “What’s deeply concerning is that some of these early deals, such as the ones we see in automotive, cut out CSPs entirely – even connectivity is being provided by other suppliers.

“Businesses want to buy complete solutions that fit their needs and help them solve business problems, rather than individual technology assets. This is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity that CSPs need to address fast and requires CSPs to collaborate with enterprises and SMBs to better understand their reality.”

“CSPs will only realize value from 5G if they can identify, partner, codevelop, implement, and run a proposition with application-specific and industry-specific specialists,” said Evan Kirchheimer, Research VP, Service Provider & Communications at Omdia. “CSPs that can orchestrate such a complex web of relationships will be capable of capturing a greater share of the market and will not be relegated to being one of many connectivity providers competing solely on price.”

That’s the thing they seem to be especially rubbish at. Even now operators are selling on features and benefits rather than solutions, even though the rest of the world got that memo a decade or two ago. The report urges them to focus on applications and vertical-specific solutions rather than just banging on about how great 5G is.

According to Omdia almost 80% of early enterprise 5G deals involve the manufacturing, transport, utilities and energy/mining sectors, so that seems to be where the smart money is. Furthermore the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be making industry keener than ever to digitise and automate, presumably to minimise disruption when none of their employees are allowed to leave the house. As ever a culture change at CSPs is required, which they’ve shown little historical inclination towards.

Vodacom launches 5G in South Africa as broadband market looks vulnerable

With some lockdown protocols still in place and low broadband penetration, launching 5G with a fixed wireless access (FWA) spin is telecoms opportunism at its finest.

Having recently assigned temporary spectrum by regulator ICASA, Vodacom is making use of 50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band to launch 5G services in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Mobile subscriptions will of course be on the radar of the company, but with the Huawei 5G CPE PRO FWA router also available to purchase, there is an opportunity to disrupt the traditional broadband market.

“Vodacom’s 5G launch in South Africa comes at an important time as it will help us improve our network efficiency during the COVID-19 national state of disaster,” said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.

“During this difficult and unprecedented period, we are proud to offer world class network technology to South Africa, and all of its associated benefits, as we provide an essential service to keep the country connected. This is largely due to the allocation of temporary spectrum by ICASA which has already mitigated the network congestion we have experienced since the start of the lockdown period.”

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, mobile traffic on the Vodacom network has increased by 40%, while it has surged 250% on fixed networks. This presents a risk due to network strain and congestion, but an opportunity to launch an alternative to traditional broadband products while demand is at its highest.

South African broadband market (2019-end)
Internet service provider Subscriptions
Liquid Telecom 169,927
MTN South Africa 279,531
MWeb 119,400
Others 462,918
Rain 68,750
Telkom South Africa 2,165,000
Vodacom 235,337
Vumatel 15,042

Source: Omdia World Information Series

“We have talked to CSPs in emerging and also mature markets,” said Dario Talmesio, Practice Leader for mobile at Omdia. “FWA sales have doubled even in highly penetrated fixed broadband markets.”

With traditional broadband penetration down at 28.38% during the first quarter of 2020, Talmesio pointed out a significant opportunity for the right FWA proposition in South Africa. Its fast to deploy, affordable devices are emerging, and the demand is currently present under current circumstances.

With FWA, you don’t have to dig up roads, lay cables, seek planning permission from local authorities or cause major disruption to communities with construction. It is fast, simple and cheaper. And with the low broadband penetration, Talmesio suggests there is a very interesting opportunity.

The question of longevity and sustainability of FWA products in more mature markets have of course come under question, but in rural environments and nations where the economics do not drive ROI for traditional broadband deployment, FWA is a viable alternative.

Vodacom might be the first to launch services on the temporary spectrum licences, but there is certainly more potential considering what ICASA handed out to telcos in April. Some will of course be allocated to improve resilience of existing services, but the stage has been set for a FWA disruption in South Africa.

Allocation of temporary spectrum licences in South Africa
Service provider Spectrum band Block
Telkom 700/800 MHz 40 MHz
2300 MHz 40 MHz
2600 MHz 20 MHz
3500 MHz 12 MHz
MTN 700/800 MHz 40 MHz
2300 MHz 50 MHz
3500 MHz 50 MHz
Vodacom 700/800 MHz 40 MHz
2300 MHz 20 MHz
2600 MHz 50 MHz
3500 MHz 50 MHz
Liquid Telecoms 3500 MHz 4 MHz
Rain 2600 MHz 30 MHz

What is the future of 5G?

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Francesca Greane, Marketing, Content and Community Lead for 5G World 2020, discusses the evolving 5G ecosystem around the globe.

2020 was destined to be the year of 5G, with both telcos and enterprises alike expecting the journey to standalone (SA) 5G to be completed this year. Indeed, as reported by Telecoms.com, a recent study found that in the next 12-18 months, 27% of operators will deploy 5G SA and a further 10% will deploy it within 24 months.

However, these predictions and plans have now been brought into question, with the industry itself facing much uncertainty.

This is a sentiment echoed by Omdia 5G Practice Leader Dario Talmesio who maintained that “ Omdia, we are revising our 5G forecast. There are many factors to be looked at, including consumer confidence, business confidence, disposable income, employment data, availability of networks, availability of devices, retail environment, marketing budgets. all these are converging to one direction which is very negative for 5G eMBB. We previously believed that 2020 was going to be the real year of 5G. This is no longer that case under the current circumstances.”

Indeed, with the addition of recent rumours connecting 5G to COVID-19, some in the industry – such as Belgian telco Proximus – are taking a definitive step back from their deployment plans. And, with companies around the globe looking to support their customers and countries during the coronavirus pandemic, telcos are being forced to prioritise investment and attention away from their 5G deployment plans.

Surely now, more than ever, it has never been more important to decipher the future of 5G.

To help service providers, enterprises and solution providers realise their business-defining questions, research powerhouse Omdia are conducting their annual Global 5G Market 2020 Survey which delves into critical topics including:

  • The Reality of 5G Deployment
  • The Business Case for 5G Deployment Globally
  • The Commercial Opportunities for 5G Globally
  • The Global Opportunities for 5G
  • The Revenue Opportunites for 5G around the Globe

 

You can have your say on the key trends, opportunities and challenges for 5G around the globe by taking ten minutes to answer the survey now. To say thank you, all respondents will receive a free copy of Omdia’s Global 5G Market Report, which will provide insight into the emerging 5G ecosystem that operators, enterprises and solution providers need to stay ahead of the curve.

You can complete the survey by clicking HERE.

What is the 5G opportunity for enterprises?

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Francesca Greane, Marketing, Content and Community Lead for 5G World 2020, discusses the evolving 5G opportunity for enterprises today.

Over the past quarter of a century, mobile technology has transformed the way we communicate, the way we access information, the way we work – in so many respects, the way we live our lives. Now, as we enter a new decade, the next generation of connectivity is set to also fundamentally change the way we do business.

Yet, we remain right at the very start of this journey, with the first commercial 5G networks only just emerging. For enterprises, this is an awkward time. Clearly no one wants to miss out on the opportunity, but to date nothing is proven and plenty of questions remain unanswered.

Add to that the uncertainty that is currently being seen over the future of 5G in 2020. Indeed, Omdia 5G Practice Leader Dario Talmesio recently maintained that “we previously believed that 2020 was going to be the real year of 5G. This is no longer that case under the current circumstances”, whilst some in the industry – such as Belgian telco Proximus – are taking a definitive step back from their deployment plans. And, with companies around the globe looking to support their customers and countries during the coronavirus pandemic, telcos are being forced to prioritise investment and attention away from their 5G deployment plans.

This begs the question; where does 5G fit into the transformation plans of enterprises? With the changes we have seen in the world, has this changed the opportunity for businesses?

To help enterprises realise the future of 5G, and answer their business-defining questions, research powerhouse Omdia are conducting their annual Global 5G Market 2020 Survey which delves into critical topics including:

  • The Reality of 5G Deployment
  • The Business Case for 5G Deployment Globally
  • The Commercial Opportunities for 5G Globally
  • The Global Opportunities for 5G
  • The Revenue Opportunites for 5G around the Globe

You can have your say on the key trends, opportunities and challenges for 5G around the globe by taking ten minutes to answer the survey now. To say thank you, all respondents will receive a free copy of Omdia’s Global 5G Market Report, which will provide insight into the emerging 5G ecosystem that operators, enterprises and solution providers need to stay ahead of the curve.

You can complete the survey by clicking HERE.

To gain more insights around the future of 5G, claim your FREE ticket to 5G World 2020 (1-3 September, ExCel, London).

With access to three days of content from industry-leading speakers, networking opportunities and 5,000+ tech and telecoms professionals, and the opportunity to meet with hundreds of service providers looking to invest in a new partner, don’t miss out on claiming your free ticket now by clicking HERE.

Omdia’s market survey reveals the MENA industry is optimistic about 5G

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Francesca Greane, Marketing, Content and Community Lead for 5G MENA 2020, discusses the findings from Omdia and 5G MENA’s recent market survey. 

Recently, research powerhouse Omdia and 5G MENA completed their annual market survey, hearing from hundreds of service and solution providers in the region as they determined the true state of 5G across Middle East and Africa. According to the survey results, the telecoms industry in MENA expects the launch of 5G to have a positive impact on the revenue and profit margins of service providers in the region. But the survey, which is summarised in Omdia’s latest Market Survey Report, also revealed that the industry sees challenges in deploying and commercialising 5G.

The main findings of the survey can be summarised below:

The advanced Gulf markets have launched 5G early by global and regional standards.

The early launches of 5G in the Gulf reflect the fact that these are high-income countries with ambitions to use technology to advance national development plans. Almost 60% of respondents to the survey said technology leadership was their company’s main reason for deploying 5G.

The MENA industry expects 5G to have a positive impact on the key financial metrics of service providers. Although survey respondents see the near-term business case for 5G services as a challenge, they also have a wider and longer-term expectation that 5G will raise service provider revenue and profit margins in the MENA region. This view is based on a number of outcomes from the survey responses, including:

  • 34% of respondents worked for a company that had launched commercial 5G services in 2019
  • 22.5% of respondents expect their company to launch by the end of 2020, whilst 9% expect to launch in 2021, and 6.7% in 2022
  • 27% of respondents did not expect their company to launch 5G until 2023 or later

Survey respondents see media and entertainment as a promising industry for 5G revenue in MENA. Almost 59% of survey respondents saw media and entertainment as one of the three best opportunities for 5G revenue in MENA, while digital media use cases were ranked second only to mobile broadband for 5G revenue opportunities. The high ranking for media and entertainment are a significant indicator of industry expectation.

Based on both the survey results, and extensive analysis on the 5G ecosystem across MENA today, Omdia provided some key recommendations for solution and service providers operating in the region, including:

  • 5G launches and services should be based on market conditions, and determined by the circumstances of each market, rather than business transformation goals
  • 5G revenue opportunities in digital media and the entertainment industry should be explored and prioritised by service providers who are looking to monetise the deployment of their 5G network rapidly.
  • Regulators should consider network sharing and wholesale options, as the industry begins to roll out new network technology, in order to improve connectivity and competition whilst minimising cost, complexity and inefficiencies.

The entirety of the survey responses, alongside key market and business recommendations can be found in Omdia’s Market Survey report. Download the full report for free by clicking here.

Join the destination for 5G game-changers by claiming your FREE pass to 5G MENA 2020 (29-31 March, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai) now.

Bringing together telecom operators, solution providers, regulators, OTT players and IoT specialists from across the region, this years’ event will explore the many 5G roadmaps and architectural options available on the route to fully realising 5G deployment. Don’t miss out on being part of the conversation at this crucial stage of network development; click to get your pass to join us in Dubai this March!

The device launches you didn’t hear about at MWC

Mobile World Congress usually has a few extravagant marketing forays to launch flagship devices and 2020 was  going to be no different… except that the event didn’t happen.

For some, this might have come as a relief, we’ve all seen the less than spectacular launches, but for others this is a nightmare come true. At Omdia’s substitute event, Principal Analyst for devices Wayne Lam gave us a breakdown of what you could have expected at the Barcelona bonanza.

First and foremost, no-one should have expected anything from Apple. The iGiant never makes as much as a ripple at the Catalan celebration, saving itself for a Cupertino cornucopia in the Autumn, though that might be under threat. Rumours have emerged over the impact of the coronavirus on the 5G flagship launch, a potentially worrying development should 5G want to explode this year.

While the fortunes of the industry should not be fixed on the performance of one company, Apple has a tendency to act as an industry catalyst. The cult like following it commands as the farmer supreme of brand cultivation should not be underappreciated. This is an iconic brand and any impact on its 5G launch could have a measured detrimental effect on the success of the connectivity craze in 2020.

That said, outside the Apple crop, Lam pointed towards the semiconductor industry as another major catalyst for 5G performance and success. In the Qualcomm offices, the third generation of 5G products have recently been announced and should be featured in devices towards 2020-end. Most importantly, new product launches in this field are boasting of integrated chipsets, allowing for more affordable devices. MediaTek and Samsung are also pushing forward in this segment, providing much needed competition.

Another area to keep an eye on is the development of storage components. 5G opens up a massive data pipe for the digital economy, and while it is important for the modem to be up to scratch, the rest of the components also have to be on a level playing field. Lam suggested this is a field which is currently maturing.

That said, with the progression of the semiconductor segment comes the potential for device manufacturers to crack the mainstream market. 2019 and 2020 has already seen the launch of numerous devices, though these are largely for the rich and famous. Mere peasants are not allowed into the unaffordable 5G club just yet, though this could change over the coming months.

Interestingly enough, Lam commented that OPPO believed it would be taking centre stage with its Find X2 5G. The company went big on advertising, splashing the brand everywhere including in the Barcelona arrivals lounge. This was a brand which was hoping to test the status quo, moving up from challenger to rival with an aggressive marketing campaign, but coronavirus put an end to that. However, this is a device which is worth keeping an eye-on for the future.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Series is another interesting launch as it now sets the standard. Although the smaller device is not compatible with mmWave airwaves, all of the handsets in this series feature 5G antennas. This is a series which sets the bar high; if you haven’t got 5G, are you tier one?

On the Huawei stand, visitors would have been offered a few interesting surprises. Firstly, an improved foldable device, the Mate Xs, but also the Honor View 30 Pro. The Honor View 30 Pro is a very interesting product, as while it features the same Kirin 990 5G chipset as more upper-market devices, the price point would have been in the $500 range. This is a device which had the potential to open 5G up to the masses.

That said, Lam highlighted that he had been testing a Huawei device over the last few days and the absence of Google services was a considerable inhibitor. Lam question whether this device could be successful outside of China.

Elsewhere across the show, Sony were going to make a splash in an attempt to overturn its mobile woes, TCL were offering another affordable device, HCL were once again poised to lean on the nostalgia associated with the Nokia brand, Xiaomi were going to push their promising position again, while Realme were also posturing towards making a surprise move into the 5G market.

This years MWC was set to be a very busy time for the devices segment potentially creating a springboard for mass market penetration, but alas no. Small, regionalised events will have to act as a substitute, as there is little other option, though the impact on 5G progress remains to be seen.