How 5G’s flexible underlying technology serves the needs of consumers and enterprises – podcast

11 November 2021 | Research

Larry Goldman Caroline Gabriel Stephen Sale Tom Rebbeck

Video and podcast | IoT and M2M Services| Fixed Broadband Services| Mobile Services| SME Strategies| Private Networks| Next-Generation Wireless Networks| Large Enterprise Strategies


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Analysys Mason has released the recordings from its 11th annual Telecoms Summit.

In this podcast, you will hear the recording of a panel discussion about 5G.

The session was hosted by Larry Goldman (Chief Analyst) and features Caroline Gabriel (Research Director), Tom Rebbeck (Partner) and Stephen Sale (Research Director).

All sessions from the summit will be available for several months and you can register for access.

Listen to or download the podcast

Podcast transcript

David McElroy

Hello, and welcome to the Analysys Mason podcast. My name is David McElroy and I work within Analysys Mason's events team.

We have just released the recordings of our annual Telecoms Summit. In the event, our analysts covered a range of topics, including automation, operator TV strategies, FTTP networks, SMB IT spending and behaviours, private networks, edge computing, and 5G from both enterprise and consumer perspectives.

In today's podcast, you will hear a panel discussion on 5G. This session was hosted by Analysys Mason's chief analyst, Larry Goldman, and features the heads of Analysys Mason's consumer, enterprise, and networks practices.

Links to learn more about the presenters are in the show notes.

So in a moment, I'll leave you to enjoy this session, but if you would like to access all of this year's summit presentation, slides, and recordings, please follow the link in the show notes or visit the event section of the Analysys Mason website to register.

The summit sessions will be available on demand for several months, meaning that you can enjoy them at your convenience.

And now, I'll pass you over to Larry.

Larry Goldman

Thank you, David. Welcome everybody.

This is our 11th annual Summit, but I think it is our first research director panel session. So welcome to this session. Unlike our other sessions, where we have presentation slides, this is simply going to be a discussion among the four of us.

We're going to talk about how 5G is developing, what we see happening now, and what we expect for the future.

And with me are Stephen Sale, the head of consumer research, and Tom Rebbeck, the head of business services research, and Caroline Gabriel, head of networks research, in particular focused on 5G networks.

First of all, each of our panellists will give their views on where we are with 5G in each of these areas; I'll start with Stephen about the consumer area.

Stephen Sale

Thanks, Larry.

Worldwide, 5G is well underway, and has been for a couple of years now. We're looking at something like 160 mobile launches in over 70 countries. In terms of penetration and how many end users there are, we're looking at high level of about 25% in South Korea, a pioneer market, but more typical is something like 5%, 10% tops. So far, 5G is targeted at early adopters.

The handset prices have been falling quite quickly over the past couple of years, so it's becoming more and more affordable. Potentially, a mass-market proposition at USD250 for a device.

The go-to-market has generally been around big data packages. Hundreds of gigabytes are fairly common now. It's also supported a bit of a move towards unlimited data packages, sometimes with speed tiering. We've seen a fair bit of that in the Nordics, Vodafone has pioneered it in many of its markets and there are some movements in that direction in Asia too.

Lots of the services come to market with a strong content mix, so AR and VR services are often associated with 5G. We've seen quite a lot of that, particularly in Asia. Probably a more common denominator actually is gaming. Game streaming or cloud gaming services are often associated.

If we think about what kind of effect this has had, it's still fairly early days in terms of subscriber take-up, as I mentioned, there are signs of ARPU uplift among the customers moving from 4G to 5G. So we are typically seeing something like a 10% or 20% increase in spend. If you're trying to look at overall mobile ARPU however, that's harder to see in terms of an impact because we're still talking small numbers of subscribers at the moment.

And, of course, over the past year and a half, we've had COVID acting as a drag there.

I mentioned mobile, of course there's fixed wireless, which is probably proceeding with less of a fanfare, fewer launches, but many still. Something like 60 operators in around 30 countries have launched 5G fixed wireless. It's typically targeted at the fairly low end of the home broadband market rather than competing directly against FTTP. Verizon, of course, was a bit of a flagship launch early on, but I think the attention has shifted more towards T-Mobile in the US, quite a few European operators are active, and also the 4G fixed-wireless services are largely upgrading to 5G.

So that's a few of the big things that we're seeing in the consumer market.

Larry Goldman

Okay. Thanks, Stephen. I think most of the news has been around consumer, but is there anything notable in enterprise, Tom?

Tom Rebbeck

I think when we're talking about business services, it's worth splitting it up into what we're seeing in the public networks, so picking up on some of the things that Stephen said, and in the private networks, which I think are much more interesting. There are much more exciting developments in the private networks than we're seeing in the public networks.

In the public networks, clearly there are 5G offers from all of the operators that Stephen mentioned that have launched their 5G networks, so there are smartphones for businesses, but in terms of the tariffs, there's nothing particularly exciting, it's really a continuation of what they were doing with 4G.

We see some operators launch fixed wireless for business but fewer than Stephen was mentioning. I'm surprised there's as many as 60 for consumer; for business, it's probably more like 15 or 20 that have launched fixed wireless for business. But again, that's really a continuation of what they were doing in 4G.

And we also see a bit of 5G being used as back-up. In things like SD-WAN boxes, the primary connection would be broadband or something like that, and increasingly 5G is back-up. But all of that is fairly standard, not that different from what was happening with 4G before.

With private networks, I think that's much more exciting, much more interesting. There are literally hundreds of private networks now. Now, in our tracker, we look at some of these where we can get all of the details, so who the prime contractor is, what the technology is, and so on.

An increasing share of those are using 5G, so we've got details on just over 200 and 71 of those are using 5G or have 5G in their networks. And some of them are really taking advantage of the capabilities of 5G. Often, or in some cases, combining that with edge, and maybe we'll talk about edge a bit more later on.

So we're seeing some things happening in those private networks in the business market, and I think that's interesting because that's almost a forerunner of what we can expect to see in the public networks 3, 4, 5 years from now.

Larry Goldman

Okay, thanks, Tom. And, of course, operators are investing a lot in these networks. So Caroline, what do you see in terms of the state of network roll-out here?

Caroline Gabriel

So far, 5G has very much been deployed as an enhancement to 4G, as both Stephen and Tom have hinted at.

The business models in the public networks have been very similar to 4G, and so have the networks themselves – we've been in non-standalone mode, which is still using a 4G core. So really you'd just call that 4G+.

For some operators, quite a lot of operators, that's going to be a perfectly good model for years to come, but there's a growing group of leading-edge operators who are really looking for some more substantial return on investment, who are looking for brand new revenue streams from 5G, but those do entail investing in quite radical new architectures.

And we're seeing those technologies coming to market now, but they do require a lot of investment, and involve a lot of risk, a lot of disruption to the ecosystem that the operator's working in. Some examples include the latest release of the 3GPP standards, which brings in capabilities like ultra-low latency; and obviously the 5G core. This supports network slicing, which we believe may gradually become very important to deliver highly differentiated services.

There's new spectrum coming into play. Tom mentioned edge compute. We certainly think that's going to be a major infrastructure investment to enable new services for a lot of operators.

AI is being used in all kinds of ways to complement 5G and improve what it can do, and we're looking at operators that have fixed networks as well as wireless, increasingly looking at having a converged core or converged access, being able to monetise those in new ways and, again, move to very different-looking experiences to what have been possible in the past.

So all that adds up to a radical technology change for these operators. It's a big investment. Most of them are looking for co-investors to share a lot of this infrastructure with, old partners or new partners, and really to shake up their supply chains as well. So in the process of rethinking their networks, I think we're also seeing them looking at their vendors, their partners, their investors, and really having to think again about the whole picture before they can significantly change their business model from the 4G+ we've seen so far.

Larry Goldman

Okay. Well, thanks everybody. It seems like we're in the early stages, but across the board, there's real progress. People are getting going here. Maybe we're getting a little bit of momentum going.

So let's talk a little about what we see the next impacts being, what hasn't happened yet but we think is going to make an impact over the next couple of years here. And let's just change the order of things a little bit, go to Tom specifically a little bit more on what you think is going on with edge and the push beyond private 5G.

Tom Rebbeck

Yeah. I mean so to start with edge, again, we're seeing quite a lot of interest from operators around edge, so something we're tracking the press releases from the operators, maybe 50 odd have said that they're interested in doing something pilots or whatever with edge. Only a small number of those have actually launched anything commercially, probably 10 or 11, something like that.

That's a mixture of network edge, so a few of the operators have launched network edge. Verizon in the US, SK Telecom, Vodafone started it in Europe and it has one location with network edge. So it's a start, it's not very far advanced yet, but it's early stages.

With the on-premises edge, the customer edge, that's probably more developed. As I was saying before, it can go quite neatly with the private networks, and because they're not constrained by what's happening with the public network, they can move a bit quicker, they can go ahead with some of the more advanced releases of 5G that Caroline was talking about, and offer new services, like guarantees, and ultra-low latency, and very high-bandwidth services.

All of the kind of features that were promised with 5G, we're seeing some of these with the private networks. And gradually, as I say, when we get more standalone networks rolled out, when we get more network edge locations rolled out, we'll start to see the same sort of services that we're seeing in standalone private locations like factories or ports. We'll see those offered over a wider area, which has implications obviously for enterprise services, but also for consumer services, things like gaming and TV.

Larry Goldman

Okay. Well, thanks, Tom. So speaking of consumer services, and gaming, and TV, and so forth, Stephen, what do you think is actually going to start happening here? Are we going to do some of those services or is fixed wireless going to move beyond what we could do with LTE and become a more significant thing?

Stephen Sale

Well, yes to both, I think. So when we look at the continuity mobile proposition, you're just doing more but a little bit better. The big target and the big push is on the entertainment experience, so a lot of operators are already active in some role in video streaming and, as I mentioned before, gaming. So a few of the network edge trials and launches that Tom mentioned, one of the big early use cases for those are video streaming from CDN evolution or gaming.

And, of course, one of the reasons that gaming gets a lot more attention is because the user experience for cloud gaming is so reliant on a good connectivity experience. So this means that operators actually have a really strong role to play there. They have a bit of choice about what to do exactly, so are they just a distribution partner taking these services to market and potentially bundling with a broadband service or a mobile service? Are they potentially acting more as an aggregator as gaming services move towards more of a subscription model? We hear lots of things about the Netflix of gaming.

Obviously, telcos are quite good at selling subscriptions and helping to support that model. And the MEC play, infrastructure as a service, more with telcos playing a role as an enabler in that user experience. So there's a lot of push there on gaming, there's lots of interest in AR and VR, bringing those services to customers. There's lots of push and quite interesting work going on around a rich video experience, multi-view video streaming, and analytic overlays to allow you to look at stats whilst focusing in on your favorite baseball star or something like that.

There's some really good services around. You mentioned fixed wireless, and certainly 5G makes FWA more viable and better able to address some niches. We're seeing a lot of activity there. I mentioned the 4G fixed wireless companies, typically mobile challengers upgrading to 5G. Often they're targeting areas that are uneconomic with FTTP and that really is an incremental revenue opportunity for many, it expands the base.

But it's not just challenger mobile operators, incumbents are also looking at fixed wireless as part of their technology mix, and many are actually seeing that it can potentially help the business case for copper decommissioning, and you can see real cost savings there, of course. Telenor in Norway is a good example there. For many mobile operators, it's another technology option, it helps their commercial discussions with wholesale players that they potentially rely on and it gives their customers different options and potentially more segmentation for the operator.

Larry Goldman

All right, thanks. So Caroline, turning to the network side of things, you noted quite a few things that are in the works here, but it does seem like we've just got a lot of people announcing things, and trialing things, and so forth, and there's a lot of potential, but it seems to me there's a fairly long runway for all this new technology to come into being. What's the next step that we're going to see real progress on the network side?

Caroline Gabriel

Yes, I do think there's a long runway and part of the reason for that is because there are potentially so many different technologies that you could deploy in parallel with one another, each of which is quite a major change in its own right, as I touched on earlier. So I think for a lot of operators who are really trying to do something radical, it's still in those early stages, with just a few exceptions.

One of the big changes which has been over horizon for quite a number of years is actually running the network in the cloud, virtualizing it. That's happened to some extent already with the core and is very much the key to the 5G core, which is largely being deployed in a cloud-native way now, and operators are just starting do that. A cloud-native core enables capabilities like slicing to be done in the most flexible way.

The big challenge is virtualising the RAN.

If you can do that, it will introduce a great deal of flexibility and programmability into the mobile network, but it's extremely challenging. And to Tom's point about edge, we think one of the things that may drive telco edge is this 5G vRAN, because 5G needs very, very low latencies. You can't have big centralised clouds running your RAN. Those clouds have got to be distributed to quite an extreme degree, perhaps even right out to the cell sites, which will mean telcos who choose to invest in that infrastructure need to, build or partner for a large number of edge sites.

But it's not so much the number, it's that these edges will have to have very, very high capability in order to support the huge processing power that goes with a 5G RAN. So we're starting to see operators experimenting with the idea of monetizing those edge sites to support very high-value services for enterprise and potentially consumer customers rather than just using them to support their own network. And it is over the horizon, but it's coming a little bit closer.

We're seeing some quite credible distributed vRAN deployment plans, which are maybe 4 to 5 years from now to get to scale, but that's actually not a very long time when you think about the architectures that are involved here and the huge amount of change. So I think that's where we're going to see a real transformation point.

But to go back to my earlier point, it's only a few operators that are going to do this in the early to mid 2020s. They'll show it can be done if things go well, but it certainly won't be a mainstream option until probably 2030 and beyond for most.

Tom Rebbeck

Yeah. And if I can just come in on that just from an enterprise perspective, so you can see why the telecoms operators, they need all of that processing power, potentially in their cell sites. Whether enterprises do I think is another question.

Caroline Gabriel

Yes.

Tom Rebbeck

So Lumen has built out its edge network across the US and it's saying with 75 sites, it can reach, I think it's 98% of businesses in the US with sub-5 millisecond latency – that's US, obviously a massive area. They only need 75 sites, but the mobile operators are building out tens of thousands of cell sites.

Now, whether enterprises need edge computing that close to them, I think is an open question. Probably not. So it's how much you can justify the business case of doing what you're talking about. It has to be justified on the network itself, not necessarily selling all of those services to enterprises.

Caroline Gabriel

I think that's a good point. There may be some wishful thinking – if we built this huge edge cloud, can we monetise it? I think perhaps it's not just the latency, I think there's also this idea that there'd be a lot of processing cloud being distributed.

So for enterprises that maybe are going to be using advanced AI, and we're seeing some processors developing that do 5G, and then when 5G is not transmitting, they do AI – those sorts of architectures. But again, it's experimental at this point.

Tom Rebbeck

Yeah. I mean it's interesting with Rakuten obviously building out how many thousands of cell sites, but of those it's going to commercialise 58 for enterprise edge. So it's only a very, very small subset.

Larry Goldman

Yeah. So a follow-up on this issue, Caroline, you were saying 4-to-5-year timeframe before you get that critical mass in some of this new technology being deployed, and so I thought we'd talk about, I've looked at your capex forecast, Caroline, you say well, more money's still going into LTE than in 5G, and it will for a few more years. So in many ways, we're using 5G to extend and do things we would've liked to have done with 4G and so forth.

When do we get to the point where something really different happens because of 5G? And a question for all of us, but I'll just go back to you, Caroline, and say when do you think enough operators or some operators will really have enough there that's really different than what you can get with 4G that we're seeing really different things happening?

Caroline Gabriel

Yes, it's a good question and, of course, it'll vary a lot from market to market. And I don't think it's all about whether it's developed economies or not, as it was perhaps in earlier generations.

It often depends whether there's a leading operator that is prepared to really take a risk and do something different. And often that operator may be a challenger, Reliance Jio in India being a good example. Also, picking up on Tom's point that a lot of the real innovation is going on in private networks or in smaller networks. Particularly in countries that have allocated spectrum on perhaps a more localised basis, like Germany, Netherlands, UK, that allows different service providers to build out some networks without having to do a national roll-out, and those may be telcos or they may be somebody else.

So I think we're seeing a lot of quite advanced services being developed for localised or specific use, maybe for an industry, a campus, or a particular community, or a city with very advanced demand. But I think at the point where you could say that most users on a nationwide basis across a whole country are going to feel this transformational effect from the 5G network, I don't think we're going to see that for quite a few years yet, and I think for most people, it'll be more gradual rather than there'll suddenly be something that's massively different.

A lot of 5G is transformational more for the operator and what the operator can do than I think what the enterprise or the consumer actually perceives. I think they'll just see a gradual improvement and then in 10 years maybe they look back and wonder how they ever coped with 4G, but they might not have noticed the process as they went along.

Larry Goldman

Yeah. Okay, so I think there's a lot of technology here that makes an operator different from an operator. Stephen, when will consumers actually see something? Oh, I couldn't have possibly done that with 4G, but now I can with 5G.

Stephen Sale

Yeah. Well, listening to Caroline now, I was reminded of the William Gibson quote with, "The future is already here, but it's just not distributed yet," and it sounds like the future is coming, but it's coming to a port …

Tom Rebbeck

... or a container near you.

Stephen Sale

... or a factory site, and it's going to take a while before it gets to the consumers. And I mean the use cases I mentioned earlier, the entertainment propositions, they're extensions of the current experiences largely.

And some of the very future-oriented stuff that we see around the consumer proposition is reliant on devices, in particular moving beyond the smartphone into a world of smart glasses, and sensors, and so on.

And obviously a lot of things have to happen in order to make that happen, and it's unlikely to be the telcos that are leading this push. There is a bit of a ‘build it and they will come’ argument present in the market from the telcos, and they're generally pushing this out 5 or 10 years, this is a 2030 vision, but there are big questions about how do we get there and what roles exactly the telecoms operators will provide.

I mean there's been lots of talk this year in particular about the metaverse; we’ve moved on from the tactile internet into the metaverse, and there is definitely a connectivity play to support that, but it's going to be pushed ahead by Facebook, and by Microsoft, and a whole range of gaming players and platforms.

And so yeah, the question for the telcos is what role do they have there? Who do they support? Who do they partner with? And some telecoms operators are leading that charge, they have a bit more confidence and they have stronger brands, to Caroline's point about different operators having different appetites here. And in particular, in Asian markets, where there isn't necessarily a strong global internet play, the telecoms operator has a stronger position in the consumer market and as an innovator, they're often less afraid and see a clearer way forward to pushing this. The extreme example is SK Telecom, which even has its own metaverse proposition, ifland.

Larry Goldman

Yeah. So let me just follow up with you. We've alluded to virtual reality and all, do you think virtual reality is going to become a big mainstream thing and really drive stuff in 5G or is it inevitably just such a nichey thing that, on a scale basis, it doesn't make that much difference for 5G?

Stephen Sale

Well, virtual reality, I think it's more going to be augmented reality or mixed reality for 5G because those are the ones that are more mobile.

I think gaming will change and 5G can play a role in that. So you often think about the gaming experience as being associated with big hardware consoles, but that's been necessary in the past and it's not necessarily going to be necessary in the future. I think the gaming developer world will support new experiences, how active the telcos are going to be in that is an open question.

Yeah, I think a lot will be changing, and for a generation of kids brought up on Roblox, and Fortnite, and Minecraft, I think there is going to be a very different experience, and set of social interaction and entertainment experiences, and commerce opportunities in the future.

Larry Goldman

Okay. So enterprise, Tom, this whole 5G thing, a lot of it hinges when you hear various briefings that we get and that kind of thing, it seems to hinge on all these things you can do in enterprise. At what point do you see that enterprises are actually doing something different, really fundamentally different, the way they run their businesses, because of 5G.

Tom Rebbeck

Yeah. I'm not sure it's really going to ever be because of 5G, but some of the things that we're seeing happening with the operators in the enterprise sector are already happening.

And so like Stephen was saying, from a consumer perspective, it probably isn't going to be the operators driving it. In the enterprise space, I think operators are quite often better placed anyhow.

Now, that's not to say that they're going to drive the development of this technology, because they're not, because it's going to be the Nokias, the Ericssons, or the Microsofts, or AWSs. All of those companies are going to be the technology vendors, but they need somebody to put it together, to put these different components together, to work with the enterprises, and quite often that's not going to be them directly, they're going to work with somebody else.

And quite often that already is the telecoms operator. And this transition is already happening. If you look at Orange's revenues over the past 2 or 3 years, for their business division, IT revenue has gone from being about 25% of their revenue to being about 40% of their revenue. If you think of Orange business services, it's almost not an operator anymore, it's almost not just about connectivity, it's about that other stuff. It's made some big acquisitions in things like cloud and security, it's got a really big cloud team, it's got something like more than 2000 people, cloud specialists.

So that's Orange, but that's not unique. BT's got a massive security team, Verizon's also got huge teams for these sort of services. So they're already playing this sort of role for some of the enterprises.

Obviously, the enterprise opportunity, there's lots of discreet opportunities, but this consumer one, there are smaller numbers of bigger companies, for the enterprises, it's a bit of a cliche about the 5G use case private networks about ports, but operators are putting private networks in for ports, and bring in edge computing, and helping them with their multi-cloud networks, and with security.

Operators already have this role, but that's almost independent from 5G. 5G gives them more capabilities and enables them to do some of the things that we talk about on 5G, so guaranteed service levels, or ultra-low latency, or very high speeds, these are things that operators have been doing in the fixed world for a long time, some of those capabilities. It just means that they can offer those services wirelessly. So it doesn't just hinge around 5G, 5G is just an extension of what they can do.

Larry Goldman

And it sounds like it also doesn't hinge just around connectivity, but the ability to let's say put together a solution and that kind of thing.

Tom Rebbeck

I think it's where it's interesting, when you think of the different operators coming at this from different perspectives, so I mentioned Orange and Verizon, clearly big incumbent players with massive IT divisions, but maybe not the fastest moving in some of these areas. And you compare that to a Rakuten and a DISH, who are clearly very dynamic, very fast moving, doing things that the other guys wouldn't think of doing, so potentially very disruptive, but they don't have the base of business customers, they don't have that kind of expertise, they don't have 2000 cloud specialists working with businesses.

So you've got this potentially very interesting conflict – who's going to come out on top? Is it going to be this more disruptive play from operators who don't have a background in business or is it going to be, well in Japan, the NTTs, or the Verizons, or the Oranges.

Stephen Sale

And there's a B2B2C angle here, of course, as well. So helping the consumer market, as in consumers and end users, but helping a whole bunch of businesses to bring new experiences and new services to those customers.

And I mean there's a similar tension. It could be operators that have existing B2B plays and good vertical market understanding that can help sell something different and make new experiences happen or it could be somebody coming from a different place in the value chain, like Rakuten, who can bring a whole bunch of commerce capabilities and knowhow from different areas to help with that.

Caroline Gabriel

I guess the challenges is that so often those enterprise experts that you're talking about, Tom, and the wireless connectivity people, and the consumer people in telco, just don't really talk to each other.

And we're always talking about how telcos need to have all these new partners in order to go after different opportunities, but often they find it hard to partner with their own different divisions. Perhaps sometimes we get very focused on the technology and forget about the organisational aspects of some of this.

Tom Rebbeck

I think it's a real challenge for operators, because in the enterprise area, they want to grow in cloud, so they build a cloud division and they have it as a separate structure, separate CEO that maybe doesn't even report into the enterprise division, but then it needs to work with some of the things that are coming from the connectivity team. And you can see that with some of the big European operators in particular.

Larry Goldman

Yeah. And I'm going to turn to you, Caroline, for a response on this as we're going to need to wrap up our panel time here, but it's a great conversation. I think the four of us could probably talk about this for a long, long time, couldn't we? But it does seem like with 5G, there's a lot of different business models out there. And this conversation, we see that not everybody's going to do the same thing.

And I wonder, Caroline, one of the things we see more of the possibility of people offering connectivity as a wholesale service, because they don't want to build out all this other stuff that Tom was talking about and so forth, and so how real do you see that being?

Caroline Gabriel

I think it's very real. I think there are different ways of doing this. We're already seeing operators who've, of course, always had some wholesale business. A lot of operators support MVNOs, for instance, on their mobile networks. But looking at the capacity that they can build out with 5G, particularly as they start moving to the new spectrum bands and even into millimeter wave, it's enabling them to offer quite a significant wholesale offering and not just to MVNOs, but perhaps to enterprise as private network operators.

So it's a way to get into these different environments that we've been talking about here. The other interesting aspect of wholesale is what Dish is trying to do, which is build a sliceable network that will be wholesale only in its case, and it will even treat its own internal MVNOs as wholesale customers.

And it's obviously going after the enterprise as well, with all the caveats Tom mentioned. They don't have enterprise experience, but perhaps if they can support enough experienced enterprise service providers on their various slices, then that could be a way for them to address that market without having to invest in all the service platforms, and all the skills, and so on. I think that's an interesting model.

So yes, I think wholesale's going to be increasingly important to a lot of operators and they'll do it in different ways, depending on how digital their platform is, and how their market runs, and how it's regulated, of course.

Larry Goldman

Okay. What do you think, Tom?

Tom Rebbeck

I mean it's all leading back to where we started the conversation, talking about what operators are doing with 5G, and a lot of its continuity of 4G and the business models are the same, 4G have basically the same model as 3G, have the same model as 2G, and 5G right now, mostly, has the same model, but there are lots of things that they can experiment with, but also they need to have the systems in place, but also the organisation needs to be willing to play around.

Caroline Gabriel

Yes, and take some risks.

Tom Rebbeck

Yeah ...

Larry Goldman

So I think we're going to need to wrap up our time here, I'm going to give Stephen the last word then on thoughts about different business models or how that's going to impact the consumer side of the business.

Stephen Sale

Okay, well I think we've all been talking about it a little bit, that every operator is different. We talk to a lot of operators and try to understand their specific needs, and there will be some appetite from some operators to be digital lifestyle providers, and to make the big vision of the future happen, and to take their customers with them. For others, it's much less clear, and they may be dabbling a little bit in rich media and gaming, but that's essentially a continuity play. What we haven't really talked about is the cost side of the question.

So for many operators, they won't see clear revenue opportunities here from the mass market, they might not have much of a position in enterprise to build on, so for them, we're looking at a difficult business case of flat revenue, flat costs essentially, and maybe trying to operate your business in a different way to adjust to that reality.

Larry Goldman

All right. Well, I think there's a lot going on. I think we had a great conversation. Obviously, we'll have a lot more to continue talking about this. There's a lot more to develop and so forth. Thank you all for your time and the conversation we've had here, thanks to people who've been listening. And as I said, you can ask questions for us and we'll respond to them later. And I'm going to turn it now back to David.

David McElroy

Thank you, Larry. And thank you to everyone who has tuned in to listen to our 5G panel session from our 11th annual Telecoms Summit. Don't forget, you can access all summit presentations on demand by clicking and registering via the link in the show notes. Don't forget to subscribe to the Analysys Mason Podcast for future episodes. Thank you for listening.

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