The paper examines the current state of 5G, exploring its current level of maturity, looking in detail at the proposed 5G use cases, the economics of 5G, and the business opportunities from 5G. We look at what will drive 5G deployment in public networks and what are the real economic drivers for 5G. For 4G/LTE we believe the business case was easy: it was both much cheaper per unit capacity, and it delivered a vastly improved user experience, compared to 2G or 3G.
The business case for 5G investments is difficult. 5G is undoubtedly technically better and more capable but its more expensive. CSPs can provide connectivity services, but that alone is not going to justify the required spectrum and capital infrastructure. 5G is an engineering led, technical vision of what CSPs can be in the future. Currently, it still does not have strong economic models for CSPs, both in terms of evolution of existing mobile business models, or in terms of monetizing opportunities in new mobile applications and adjacent industries.
We look at the 5G opportunity for network vendors and software suppliers beyond simply the network hardware. We also look at the current 5G positions of the major network vendors and their position for delivery of 5G networks. To understand the opportunities and challenges for CSPs in new 5G application areas we look at a number of companies that are creating new IoT and edge applications, currently with limited CSP involvement beyond simple connectivity. We look at the potential competition and collaboration that CSPs could find in these areas.