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Microsoft: 5G's Killer App 'Is Staring Telcos in the Face'Microsoft: 5G's Killer App 'Is Staring Telcos in the Face'

Microsoft sees pervasive connectivity as the killer app for 5G – and Microsoft's golden ticket to becoming a major telco vendor.

Mitch Wagner

March 11, 2019

6 Min Read
Microsoft: 5G's Killer App 'Is Staring Telcos in the Face'

Microsoft sees the primary business benefit of 5G for telcos as obvious -- so obvious, it's often overlooked, says Rick Lievano, Microsoft worldwide director of industry technology strategy. And that application will be key to turning Microsoft into a strategic vendor for telco cloudification, he says.

"We think the killer app for 5G is staring telcos in the face," Lievano tells Light Reading. The killer app for 5G is simple connectivity -- pervasive and always-on.

"5G will become the air that we breathe. Connectivity will be pervasive," Lievano says. "When you click that machine on, connectivity should be present, whether you're at home, or in the office, or at your local Starbucks. You shouldn't have to fumble along and find the WiFi hotspot. It should be there."

According to Lievano, enterprises will invest in 5G rather than building out and maintaining WiFi networks. And 5G will also potentially replace copper.

"We call this vision 'always connected,'" Lievano says. "It is going to drive an immense amount of growth in revenue for our operator partners."

We talked with Lievano at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late February, where Microsoft had a medium-sized booth, after being absent the previous year -- a sign, Lievano notes, that Microsoft is stepping up its commitment to operators.

Microsoft also chose Mobile World Congress as the stage from which to announce the second generation of its HoloLens augmented reality headset for industrial and business applications, in a presentation featuring CEO Satya Nadella.

Figure 1: Microsoft's Rick Lievano at Microsoft Ignite conference in September. Microsoft's Rick Lievano at Microsoft Ignite conference in September.

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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