CO - Techinnovation

Avenues To Expedite The Incorporation Of 5G Into Industry

Avenues To Expedite The Incorporation Of 5G Into Industry

5G has been launched in Asia Pacific. South Korea, China, the Philippines and other countries have been making progress towards full implementation. Similar to the U.S., the development of 5G in Asia Pacific shares similarities and differences. With 5G, identifying global similarities is easy. Identifying local regional differences is harder. An example of an observed difference includes how industry partnerships are being forged and the focus areas of telcos in bringing the innovation to the market. It was not a secret that 5G development is still in its infancy and progress has been slow.

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has triggered sudden disruption and change. Digital transformation and 5G are now part of our new normal, including adjustments to behavior, needs and preferences. COVID-19 has not only disrupted our lives but has triggered an urgent need to enhance and upgrade our digital infrastructure. It has accelerated the use of technology to ensure that we can continue our daily life in the new normal as effective as possible. All our assumptions about what our people and our industries need may have to be revisited. A new world is ahead of us.

For the 5G industry ecosystem to develop, it is necessary to discuss how to bring 5G to the next level. A framework to expedite the incorporation of 5G into industry is necessary.

Possible regional drivers include new applications that can be monetized, solving pain points for consumers and enterprises, and the inclusion of 5G in government policies and public sector projects. The preference for these drivers varies by country and vertical industry. While these points seem apparent, there is much room for improvement before 5G can truly scale globally. 

To spur market demand for 5G, the supply side needs to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of 5G within industry ecosystem. The need for 5G is closely linked to the understanding of the impact of 5G such that the lack of understanding will likely lead to the lack of need for 5G. Therefore, if industry is not being able to identify the need within the various vertical industries, this will impact the timeline, drive to push for 5G and incorporation of 5G into new concept development. Yet, this is what we are seeing happen.

The 5G industry ecosystem is still struggling with understanding of end user segment needs, partner fit and the go to market (GTM) plan. The telecoms vertical and large companies are leading the incorporation of 5G into industry but collectively the end users segments within other vertical industries are trailing behind. There is a supply and demand gap and the reason is clear. There is simply not enough evidence to cause an immediate shift from “as is” without the innovative ideas that can unlock the potential of 5G and lead to successful commercial 5G deployments.

Things can be done. There are many avenues to expedite the incorporation of 5G into industry.

It is important to note that despite levels of need and understanding not being as high as we anticipated, the level of intent to implement 5G is undoubtedly high within the region. To drive 5G adoption and scale, new ways of thinking and working with partners to come up with end to end services are needed. To scale 5G, there needs to be co-creation of solutions that can be used regionally across the verticals. Partnerships would be better leveraged to scale proven concepts instead of to showcase technology.

The telecoms vertical needs to shift from what they can do to what is needed. Government intervention with the inclusion of 5G within government policies and public sector projects is also essential. The overlap between the agendas of local government and their regulatory bodies and the telecoms vertical can be bigger and the gap smaller in order for parties to expedite 5G commercialization in-country.

The supply and demand gap mentioned above is due to differences in incentives or preferences between supply and demand. On one hand, we have the telecoms vertical on the supply side that have been pushing for early 5G deployment and launches having done all these tests and trials across the region. Their drive is to get the technology out there quicker to help to regain competitiveness and drive renewed growth. 

On the other hand, we have the end user segments on the demand side that seem not as keen, based on a recent survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan in 2020. While the telecoms verticals on the supply side are driving use cases for here and now, the end user segments on the demand side are driving for the longer term to be able to leverage the availability and ability of innovative ideas to transform and grow their business. 

Also, while awareness of 5G as a new technology across the region is at an all-time high, only two thirds of our sampling of 108 businesses across the region understand the impact of 5G on the industry ecosystem and then only 60% of the same base say that there is need for 5G. This data means that there are a significant number of companies that do not yet know how to apply 5G technology to their businesses to determine whether there is  need for 5G. This also means that the need for 5G could be understated.

This is where regulators and the telecoms vertical can play a bigger role.

As industry analyst, I am already seeing the spirit of enablement taking shape across the region so I look forward to great things as a result of 5G technology incorporation into industry. I envision that 5G will eventually drive the much anticipated innovative end to end services that have the potential to transform the world as we know it. 

 

But before we can get there, there are some really important points that we need to address, for example, 5G monetization and also 5G demand creation.

There is still much work to be done.

  • Quah Mei Lee
    Quah Mei Lee
    Associate Director with the Frost & Sullivan ICT

    Quah Mei Lee is an Associate Director with the Frost & Sullivan ICT practice. She leads Mobile & Wireless Research for Asia-Pacific and focuses on telecoms and payments strategy. Supported by her expert team, she drives thought leadership in telecoms and payments strategy and mobile digital services research.

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