How Telecoms can Move Forward with 5G Innovation

How Telecoms can Move Forward with 5G Innovation

Edwin Creyghton
Edwin Creyghton,

With global adoption of 5G fast becoming a reality, telecoms face new challenges. How does consumer connectivity accelerate emerging revenue opportunities? Here are our four recommendations for telecoms to move beyond their current role and power up new cross-industry revenue streams.

In short, telecoms need to move beyond the role of providing the network backbone and enabling content delivery (learn more about the 5G marketplace for network providers here). Crucially, they must decide if they’re going to power customer relationships for others or own that relationship themselves. Although some industry players have made good strides in seeking incremental revenues through a broader ecosystem and facilitating the interconnectedness of adjacent industries, more must be done – and at a faster pace – to create better experiences or reduce costs. 

Utility to value: Changing the customer relationship
First and foremost, telecoms need to identify how they can make the most impact and create the most value in the customer relationship equation. This means focusing on building strategic use cases for industries or powering them at the nexus of their partners’ ecosystem.
Here are four recommendations for telecoms to reap the opportunities ahead:

  • Assess market needs and the competitive landscape to better understand what new products and services in non-traditional business lines will create revenue streams and opportunity potential. This will also help telecoms identify the talent gaps in skills and industry expertise between converging industries, as well as highlight which use cases that are clearly defined, aligned with the market, and can advance the business.
  • Work with ecosystem partners to openly share their unique strengths in designing a future state. For example, Verizon, Microsoft and Cognizant recently announced a partnership to leverage the strengths of each brand to simplify and accelerate the building of industry solutions such as a cold chain to keep medicines and food safe.
  • Assess technology strengths and weaknesses. We’ve developed a digital maturity model for telecoms to identify strengths and gaps across five key areas: infrastructure, applications, orchestration, products/business and experiences. In this blog post, we provide details on each digital layer and its impact on new product, service and experience models.
  • Define a role in the ecosystem and the relationship with end-users. Telecoms can choose to brand new services and products, as Telefonica has, or they can power and augment the relationships and experiences in the digital services ecosystem, as Telstra has. In Telstra’s case, the telecom needed to decide on the role it would take in the solution: interfacing with patients or powering the experience and interacting with the telemedicine partner ecosystem. Often, telecoms fail to make it clear to the industries they serve which role each ecosystem participant will play in the product/service to provide a clear brand experience.


The road ahead
5G presents both a challenge and an opportunity for telecoms, which must transcend the networks they’ve built and leverage them to add differentiating solutions and enhance customer experiences.

While leading telecoms have already explored investment in adjacent industry offerings, many others continue to search for ways to more organically infuse themselves in what is a continuously evolving value chain (learn more about opportunities in the IoT value chain here). While certainly the stakes are high for anticipating new consumer and cross-vertical needs, so will be the rewards.

To learn more, please visit our Communications, Media & Technology section of the web. 

Related Publication

eBook: Building a Hyperconnected City

Cities adopting smart technologies are already seeing less crime, congestion, and pollution, as well as improvements in public health, productivity, and living conditions. This eBook, generated by think tank ESI ThoughtLab, provides evidence-based decision support to drive urban success.