5G and Beyond: How Telcos can Stay Relevant in a Virtual World

5G and Beyond: How Telcos can Stay Relevant in a Virtual World

Kim Leandersson
Kim Leandersson,

With 5G looming, telecommunications companies are at a vantage point on the information superhighway. These are the things to consider as telcos embark on the “digital layered maturity journey”.

A vantage point brings a choice of direction. Today’s communications service providers (CSPs) have that choice: the choice to green-light initiatives that enable the ecosystem solutions fueled by 5G’s hyper-connectivity, re-envisioning and redesigning their infrastructure. They must reposition themselves to become trusted digital layered telco ecosystem players of value-added data, of seamless, frictionless information solutions and offer better experiences for all customers – business and consumer.

5G Marketplace: A Potential Platform for Network Providers

However, there is a need to mature quickly in their journey as a digital layered telco as they drive priorities with respect to realizing this vision for enabling newer ecosystem solutions enabled through 5G.

A new horizon, building maturity
Even before the advent of Covid-19, CSPs were at an inflection point. They could continue what they were doing: that is, furnishing high-speed data services, seeking to differentiate by offering entertainment services and/or advertising solutions. Each provider has taken a different road to drive revenues and plotting its future.

But all need now to rely on these ecosystem solutions enabled through 5G. For example, does it make sense for each to create that required infrastructure alone? For each to build its own set of new 5G cell towers, for example, in every region of the country? Of the world?

There lies an opportunity for the CSPs to embrace “Openness” in their business models, operating models, technology and networks. CSPs need to accept the necessity of sharing infrastructure assets and participating as a key player in bringing together different players in these emerging ecosystems of virtual services and solutions. To realize this, they need to embark on a journey toward information systems maturity. That journey has five key layers.

A digital layered telco maturity model for telcos
Headlines often focus on the server farms that enable the cloud, on high-speed fiber-optic cables being laid across the country, connecting community after community, or on the nascent promise of 5G.

But focusing on hardware, on servers and cables, on an emerging communications protocol, is contriving; these represent nothing more than the opportunity to create a smart network and an information ecosystem. A box is a box, but layered telco ecosystem maturity is dependent on software at every level that drives the “Openness”:

  • At the infrastructure layer, enabling core network virtualization, cloud communications, IoT connectivity, data capture at the edge, and 5G optimization.
  • At the application layer, providing nimble, modular digital operating systems that others can use, build on and innovate with.
  • At the orchestration layer, allowing interfaces with third-party providers using APIs, gateways, and connectivity mechanisms to create product offerings and custom end-to-end solutions for users.
  • At a product or business layer, giving CSPs and DSPs ways to drive niche industry-vertical solutions and lifestyle solutions to customers.
  • At the experience layer, exploring at the enterprise level and for consumers how autonomous experiences can evolve and improve, such as in connected IoT products and autonomous vehicles, or using augmented or virtual reality to show, guide, teach, and improve human lives.


We’re helping CSPs across the globe in their layered telco maturity journey, to operate more efficiently at every layer in this hierarchy. We’re helping them monetize current and future investments in infrastructure and application development, product development, and new capabilities such as 5G, connected products and Internet of Things (IoT), direct-to-consumer virtual solutions, such as individualized healthcare, and business solutions including Industry 4.0. For example, learn what we did for CSP Intrado and for this U.S. based CSP.

Beyond 5G: An evolving ecosystem
5G is but a next step in the ongoing digitization of core business processes and better customer experiences. And while Covid-19 has heightened companies’ awareness of the need to conduct business virtually and digitally, the transition toward digital operations and digital business solutions continues to accelerate.

Leveraging industry experience and deep engineering capabilities, we’re helping telecommunications providers find their footing in this new virtual world, so they can progress businesses and lifestyles forward, from their vantage point. Learn more by visiting our Communications section of the web

Related Publication

What Does it Take to Lead in Digital Times?

Digitalization, upstart competitors, the need for breakneck speed and agility, and an increasingly diverse and demanding workforce require more from leaders than what most can offer. Check out our new survey with 4,394 global leaders.