The Asia-Pacific is set to lead the way for the commercial deployment of 5G. Research and consulting firm Analysys Mason found that 28 percent of mobile network operators (MNOs) in developed APAC markets will offer some level of 5G commercial service by 2020. A stark contrast to the global norm of 8 percent.
Seventy-one percent of MNOs in the developed APAC region are already planning to launch 5G services by 2024, although just a quarter of MNOs have actually started.
The research found APAC MNOs must develop a converged holistic wireline strategy, even if plans to integrate 5G radios are still a ways off.
“5G migration will be unlike anything APAC MNOs have experienced in the past,” stated the report. In light of this, how do these MNOs stay ahead of competition, transform their cost base, and provide a user rich experience for users?
The road to 5G
Central to their strategy should be integrating fiber and radio across their network architecture. Less than 25 percent of APAC MNOs surveyed currently have a fully integrated wireless/wireline strategy. The majority are planning both sides concurrently, yet independent from one another.
“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,” said Anthony McLachlan, Vice President and General Manager of APAC, Ciena.
The report also proposes that operators prioritize 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.”
A recent TM Forum Catalyst project called 5G service operations – real-time service assurance, which was championed by AT&T, BT, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor and Vodafone and included MYCOM OSI, Netcracker and TEOCO as participants, focused specifically on how to manage a 5G environment at the service-management level using network slicing and assurance.
Drivers for change
The diverse reasons for implementing 5G at an early stage (2018 to 2023) included enhancing networks to support a high-profile event such as the Tokyo Summer Olympics, improving cost efficiency and uncovering new revenue streams. However, the top drivers in APAC to deploy 5G by 2023 were found to be:
- lower total cost of ownership (TCO);
- greater efficiency and flexibility in harnessing resources including spectrum, fiber and radio network; and
- support for new revenues.
Delivering new video services through enhanced broadband was cited as the most important use case in APAC, although operators in Japan are focusing on new user experiences driven by virtual reality. Connected vehicles and the industrial Internet of Things are key drivers in Japan and Korea, while connected healthcare is the most important driver for India, Australia, and Vietnam.
Get some further insight in our new report 5G: Is platform the killer use case? All employees of TM Forum member companies can download it free by registering on our website, and non-members will soon be able to download an executive summary or purchase the full report.