Operators not ready to exploit 5G opportunities

05 Mar 2019

Syniverse’s global survey of service providers reveals that the industry is banking on driving new revenues from enterprise 5G opportunities, and that many have yet to develop the underlying payment, partnership, and interoperability systems that will allow a 5G ecosystem to monetize itself and flourish.

Enterprise focus

The survey highlights the degree to which 5G ecosystems are expected and prepared to play a significant part in an operator’s business model. Nearly 60% of respondents say that 5G will swing their organization’s focus to enterprise ecosystems, 77% of respondents expect their organizations to lead 5G ecosystems and offer advanced enterprise services, such as network slicing.

Confident in recouping their investment in 5G enterprise plays, 90% of service providers surveyed said they have made progress in identifying vertical market opportunities. However, respondents raised significant concerns about the practical challenges of engaging in a new ecosystem that will entail many new partners, payment mechanisms and security challenges.

Challenges remain

Seventy-four percent acknowledged that coordinating multiple partners is somewhat or the most difficult challenge, followed by maintaining service quality (70%), and revenue-sharing mechanisms (65%).

Where multiple partners require billing and charging, as many as 83% of respondents identified security and immutability of ecosystem transactions as a somewhat or most important feature, followed closely by the ability to allocate revenue between all partners (78%).

Despite the scale of these specific concerns, as many as 51% say they have not yet identified, or are only just beginning to identify, their technical requirements for multi-party billing, reconciliation, and payment solutions.

“One of 5G’s defining aspirations is that it offers service providers the capability to expand beyond the traditional consumer boundary by supporting enterprise services brought about by the internet of things (IoT), with such innovations as smart cities, self-driving cars, and robotics,” said Bill Hurley, chief marketing officer, Syniverse.

“The ability to ensure operators can monetize these ecosystems is a particularly important aspect, along with the ability to ensure that every contributor to those ecosystems gets their fair share of revenue. Without monetization and related financial security, ecosystems just won’t grow.”

Not ready

The survey highlighted further concerns about the industry’s readiness to effectively monetize 5G, with just 10% of respondents saying their existing systems are suitable for multi-party billing, reconciliation and payment solutions in 5G. Ecosystem complexity also raises specific challenges around invoicing and paying non-operator partners.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents see fraudulent activity as somewhat or the biggest challenge in this area, closely followed by revenue assurance for billing, and settlement vs. contract data (71%).

Blockchain future

Syniverse affirm development effort around the application of emerging technologies like blockchain as a means to transcend industry silos. This technology will ultimately allow universal payment processing and reconciliation among any company or provider across any technology by securely validating and managing transactions.

It also sees blockchain as allowing companies to efficiently and securely overcome the inherent 5G challenges associated with security, monetization, and connecting partners.

Anticipating a future dominated by 5G, Syniverse launched a 5G signaling service that supports cross-network connectivity for the IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR), as well as interoperability with 4G and 3G networks.

It is also partnering on a virtualized network that is already powering 30 million connected cars in Asia that all need globally accessible cellular connectivity. In addition, challenges around security of transactions in 5G ecosystems are being addressed by firewalls and a private global network that protect data from cyberattacks arising from IoT devices being connected to the internet.

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