5G – Will there be a first mover advantage?

“5G networks are only good for delivering faster speeds than 4G”, this is the biggest misconception about the 5G network.

Here’s what it misses about 5G – It’s not really about speed but about a new ecosystem which will be built on the network which is software driven to be agile and flexible to meet customers needs.

New business models will be embraced by telecommunication companies – they will no longer depend on network usage to make revenue. They will establish partnerships with their new age business partners to build and sell services with innovative revenue models.

Network Slicing Source — SDX Central

An illustration would be a telecom operator partnering with an IoT sensor producer to build a real time fuel cargo monitoring solution for a Oil and Gas company. The service will make money on the amount of oil wastage that can be prevented. Another example would be a telecommunication operator partnering with multiple vendors to deliver an IoT solution for a logistics company which operates in 150 countries. The billing of the solution will be based on costs saved due to proactive route corrections, live tracking of inventory and not on the network usage.

Having a thriving ecosystem of partners who build solutions on top of the network is key to succeed in the 5G era. The first mover advantage of having an “App Store” and “Google Play Store” equivalents on a telecom operator’s network will be the key competitive advantage

By not investing in 5G, telecom operators risk being late to the party wherein the first mover has already established a thriving ecosystem with partners who built service offerings to a wide variety of users – enterprise and retail. Finding new partners to build services on your network would then be a chicken and egg problem. Customers are already deep into the first mover’s ecosystem while the late entrant struggles to attract both partners and customers to its network. This is akin to what happened in the mobile operating systems world where Microsoft with all it’s might missed the bus on the smartphone evolution.