Tuesday, 20 June 2017 01:46

APAC network operators eye new revenue opportunities with 5G

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Mobile network operators in the Asia Pacific region, including in Australia, see support for new revenues and a lower costs of total ownership as the key drivers to deploy 5G by 2023, according to new research.

The newly published survey of 54 mobile networking operators in APAC, by research firm Analysys Mason for network provider Ciena, also found that APAC mobile network operators see greater efficiency and flexibility in harnessing resources, including spectrum, fibre and radio network, as a key driver for their 5G.

According to the research, 5G migration will be “unlike anything” APAC MNOs have experienced in the past, and that strategic investment in wireline infrastructure is crucial for operators to achieve success in supporting future 5G services.

Currently, less than 25% of APAC MNOs surveyed have a fully integrated wireless/wireline strategy, with the majority planning both sides concurrently, yet independently.

The research also found that MNOs must develop a converged holistic wireline strategy, even if plans to integrate 5G radios are still a way off.

Stephen Wilson, principal analyst, Analysys Mason, says the research suggests that mobile network operators in APAC must consider an integrated wireless and wireline strategy, as they prepare their networks for upcoming 5G services.

“Central to their strategy is integrating fibre and radio across their network architecture – a crucial element for MNOs to stay ahead of competition, transform their cost base, and provide a richer experience for their users.”

“Mobile Network Operators in APAC navigate a unique user landscape compared to other markets, thus they must also rethink how to architect their networks to support 5G services,” says Anthony McLachlan, vice-president and general manager of APAC, Ciena.

“Ciena’s approach to building networks aligns with the recommendations in the research, where we have long been an advocate of the integration of wireless and wireline technologies, and now with SDN and NFV for orchestration of the physical and virtual networks for optimal flexibility and efficiency.”

Other key findings included:

  •  71% of MNOs in the developed APAC region are already engaged in some 5G planning to launch 5G services prior to 2024, but only a quarter of those in emerging APAC regions have started.
  • Surveyed MNOs cite diverse reasons for implementing 5G at an early stage (2018 to 2023) including: enhancing networks to support a high-profile event such as the Tokyo Summer Olympics, improving cost efficiency and uncovering new revenue streams.
  • Delivering new video services through enhanced broadband was cited as the most important use case in APAC. However, operators in Japan are focusing on new user experiences driven by virtual reality. Additionally, connected vehicles and the industrial Internet of Things are key drivers in Japan and South Korea, while connected healthcare is the most important driver for India, Australia, and Vietnam.
  • Operators must prioritise improving the efficiency and flexibility of existing and future resources, using three new and intertwined approaches – NFV, SDN, and network slicing. These technologies will help converge wireline and wireless networks and tap into both pools of capacity in an on-demand basis, share resources as flexibly as possible, and help create new revenue streams.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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