5G and Beyond

5G Will Spur More Fixed-Mobile Convergence – Ovum

Plans for 5G-enabled fixed wireless services already appear to be shaking up the broadband scene in both Europe and the US, and now Ovum Ltd. is predicting that next-generation network strategies will be the catalyst for more fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) in the near future.

Operators such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) -- among others --are all going ahead with some form of fixed-mobile convergence around 5G. In Verizon's case, this will start late in 2018 with a cable-like fixed service, followed by the mobile layer as an update. (See DT Is Not Going Radio Gaga About 5G, AT&T Fires Up More Fiber & 5G Pilots and Verizon's Fixed 5G: A Cable Alternative Is Coming!.)

Ovum says that 5G will help bring new players into the mobile market, supplementing fixed broadband with the anticipated gigabit-download speeds from the new mobile technology:

    The emergence of 5G will drive fixed-only players (as well as those with an MVNO [mobile virtual network operator] business model) to enter the mobile market via their own network. Enhanced mobile broadband will improve the video experience, and is also going to be an appealing last-mile solution. As such, Ovum believes that a growing number of businesses will ask regulators (particularly across Europe) to allow new entrants to participate in upcoming 5G auctions.

(See Switzerland Sets $222M Base Fee in 5G Auction and Eurobites: Italy to Hold 5G Auction in September.)

The analysts say that for both consumers and operators, FMC (and 5G) spells bundles, with the service providers using fixed and wireless networks -- frequently along with WiFi in-home -- to offer packages of voice, messaging, Internet, along with video and TV.

Ovum lists five core FMC benefits for operators:

  • reduced churn through improved customer loyalty
  • lower marketing costs
  • higher average revenue per user (when the product is matured versus when it is first introduced and revenue is initially decreased due to discounts)
  • reduced customer handling time thanks to a single touchpoint for the customer when dealing with bills
  • upselling opportunities as part of convergence.

    Of course, no commercial 5G networks have gone live yet. Early live networks, particularly those offering fixed wireless access, are expected to launch commercially late in 2018. Global deployments are expected to start to gain pace in 2019 and 2020. Nationwide deployments are expected to take anything from three years to a decade from a nominal 2020 start date.

    — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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