5G scenario assessment: optimal deployment priorities for MNOs

28 June 2021 | Research

Caroline Gabriel | Michela Venturelli

Perspective | PDF (32 pages) | Operator Investment Strategies

"Operators that are targeting new enterprise revenue must make it a priority to deploy a cloud-native 5G core."



The 5G network will enable many industries worldwide to carry out digital transformation projects throughout the 2020s. This is partly because of 5G’s high data rates, which support fibre-class speeds combined with mobility. More importantly, 5G’s flexibility enables it to support a wide variety of capabilities, including ultra-low latency and critical availability, depending on the requirements of each use case. This will be critical to ensure that each industry and application can access the exact performance that it requires. 

This combination of versatility and performance is enabled by the cloud-native 5G core, which mobile network operators (MNOs) started to deploy commercially in 2020. The core will give MNOs considerable flexibility to support any application that has the potential for strong revenue growth, and to ensure that each use case is supported with the right network resources and capabilities. The core provides the foundations for a broad-ranging 5G business model that addresses many industries, but to maximise its commercial impact, MNOs need to make clear choices about the best markets to target first.

A return on investment and revenue growth will both be maximised if the MNO selects some business-to-business (B2B) targets that will deliver quick wins, and others that will take longer to be adopted at scale but will enhance the business case from the mid-2020s. The effort of optimising the network and building channels and ecosystems can then be prioritised for the most-immediate target markets first, while the flexibility of the core will enable additional new revenue streams to be added smoothly in the coming years.

This report identifies the six strongest B2B ‘scenarios’ on which MNOs can build a strong 5G business case that provides some immediate gains and also grows over the whole period to 2030. A scenario – as distinct from an individual application, service or use case – is a broad capability that is enabled or significantly enhanced by 5G and can be applied to multiple industries and multiple applications, and so delivers maximum returns when supported by the 5G network. 

In the first quarter of 2021, Analysys Mason undertook a detailed assessment of a long list of scenarios and use cases to understand those with the greatest potential to enhance the 5G business case. We defined a methodology to identify those B2B scenarios that will support the best commercial opportunities for 5G MNOs in the near, medium and longer term, and that align best with the timescales for enterprise demand. Each scenario was rated according to a complex matrix of technical, ecosystem and commercial criteria (see Figure 2.5).

The following six scenarios were selected.

  • 5G-enhanced augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) for B2B environments (for example, in industrial digital twin or training systems)
  • Large-scale sensor networks, including AI-enabled data analytics (for instance, in smart cities)
  • Industrial vision and image recognition
  • Remote-controlled 5G UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or drones
  • AI-assisted remote diagnostics (for example, in healthcare or preventative maintenance)
  • 5G positioning (for example, in emergency response applications).

5G scenario assessment: optimal deployment priorities for MNOs

Perspective (PDF)


Caroline Gabriel

Research Director, expert in network and cloud strategies and architecture