The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently commented that while 2020 saw 5G move to center stage, 2021 has seen continued growth for 5G infrastructure deployment and service launches.
Omdia, a sister company to Light Reading, suggests that 2022 is when 5G's value will start to become really evident to end users – particularly in the enterprise segment.
In its report, 2022 Trends to Watch: Global 5G, the research company notes that 5G network rollouts are still in the early stages, especially in developing regions.
"But there are compelling reasons for telcos to commit to 5G so they can differentiate around an improved network experience, as well as realize network efficiencies and lower operating costs. Moreover, 5G's enhancements over 4G – most noticeably speed and latency – will come to be appreciated by consumers more next year as an increasing number of data-intensive services and applications become popular in the mass market," the research company said.
Omdia also pointed out that while there is a lot of industry focus on advanced 5G capabilities such as 5G IoT and slicing, there's a strong possibility these will remain in their infancy in 2022, as 5G coverage becomes key for telco differentiation and their ability to compete.
"A surprise to many next year may be the rapid emergence of satellite to augment telcos' terrestrial network coverage," Omdia observed.
"A key driver for hybrid satellite-cellular deployments is the need for ubiquitous high-speed data coverage, something which telcos can greatly benefit from if their rivals' 5G network coverage remains patchy."
Major telcos including BT, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and Verizon signed significant deals with satellite players in 2021 to offer a hybrid approach to targeted residential, enterprise and industrial markets.
Omdia believes that the likely success of these approaches could kick-start a flurry of new activity in this area in 2022.
Building a 5G business
Looking ahead, key messages for 5G are that telcos will increase 5G adoption through the device upgrade cycle. In developed markets, "most devices they sell next year will have 5G, giving them a clear opportunity to sell 5G plans if they can effectively add more value," Omdia said.
The company also pointed out that 5G offers telcos a chance to differentiate around the network experience.
"Although most end users aren't rushing to buy 5G, the quality of their network experience in terms of reliability, speed, and coverage is increasingly important to them. As such, 5G offers telcos a better opportunity than 4G to differentiate, especially for ones that can claim they offer the best-in-market network experience," Omdia said.
Omdia also indicated that partnership strategies will be even more important for telco 5G success in 2022.
"How good telcos are at partnering, whether for content, service, or technology development, will increasingly define how successful they are in consumer, enterprise, and industrial markets. Because of its enhanced capabilities over 4G, 5G enables telcos to offer much more, and they will have to partner effectively to capitalize on this."
Omdia's recommendations to telcos are to drive consumers to 5G price plans by offering more value, such as more data, premium content or other value-added services.
They also advise operators to deploy geomarketing to target consumers where there is 5G coverage; offer device recycling to stimulate 5G uptake; and prepare for 5G IoT, network slicing, 5G private networks and multi-access edge – "but don't overestimate immediate demand."
"Except for 5G MEC, the ecosystem and markets for advanced 5G technologies are still in their infancy. However, 5G front-runners are already launching them, placing them in a strong position to gain a first-mover advantage when the market is ready to adopt them," Omdia said.
- Nearly a quarter of LTE operators have launched 5G – GSA
- NEC is out to crash the Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia 5G party
- Comcast urged to halt use of 'Unlimited 5G' and 'Best Price' claims for 5G plans
- BT and OneWeb ink a shiny satellite broadband deal
- TIM launches satellite service for the underserved
— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading