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How CSPs Need To Adapt To the 5G-Fueled Future

In today’s environment, disruption is fast and frequent. 5G can help CSPs be agile for fast changes.

aerial view of person with dog having a picnic in the middle of a grassy patch: 5G CSPS future
In today’s environment, disruption is fast and frequent. 5G can help CSPs be agile for fast changes. [Westend61/Getty Images]

Telecommunications is always changing. Whether it’s new tech, evolving market trends, or regulatory shifts, disruption is fast, frequent, and sudden. Communications service providers (CSPs) need to be ready to adapt fast.

CSPs are adapting, and in some cases, learning as they go. European CSP leader UPC has been remarkably agile and key executives provided us with insight into what is informing their 5G strategies. Here are some of the key takeaways.

New disruptions, new priorities

This year, we decided to draw the focus back onto the services we have in place. We rearranged our priorities to focus on the stability of our services, ensuring they were robust and reliable for our customers.

Fabio Pellegrino, Director CIO Operations

Director CIO Operations Fabio Pellegrino and Director of Digital Transformation Bruno Schenck discussed how UPC has adapted and what their future strategy looks like. “This year, we decided to draw the focus back onto the services we have in place. We rearranged our priorities to focus on the stability of our services, ensuring they were robust and reliable for our customers,” said Pellegrino. 

But this shift in priorities hasn’t stopped UPC from pushing forward with its digitalization strategy. “We’re quickly moving onto modern technologies like cloud services,” said Pellegrino. “Customer behavior has changed — they want to do more on their own, and we’re providing the technical capabilities to help them do it.”

5G is also a key focus for UPC. “5G is the next big milestone for telcos,” explained Schenck. “Luckily, we’re already advancing a digital way of working, and we’ll be ready to make the most of it when it arrives.”

Are CSPs ready for 5G?

Telcos need to take a more active role in shaping 5G’s potential by thinking of exciting use cases that spark innovation and change the market.

Dirk Grote, Salesforce Director of Go-to-Market Telecommunications

Disruptive forces — like COVID and its variants — are an accelerant of existing change. And for many CSPs (and the customers they serve) that means a higher potential for 5G to support innovation, create new revenue streams, and improve customer experiences.

Dirk Grote, Salesforce Director of Go-to-Market Telecommunications, contextualized 5G’s potential. “If we look back to 3G, it didn’t take off until the iPhone came out and proved its connectivity benefits. Telcos need to take a more active role in shaping 5G’s potential by thinking of exciting use cases that spark innovation and change the market.”

The massive improvements to latency, speed, coverage, capacity, and density that 5G promises easily translates into compelling use cases across every industry. For instance: 

  • Real-time communication between Internet of Things (IoT) devices
  • Remote maintenance of field equipment 
  • Off-site operation of robotics
  • Augmented reality- and virtual reality-based staff training
  • Increased use of edge computing

Pellegrino added, “We’ve seen IoT becoming more popular over the past few years. The shift might not be as quick as what we saw with 3G, but across the next five to ten years, we’ll see some big changes.”

Monetizing 5G for consumers

The use cases go beyond just B2B into how consumers benefit. For Grote, some use cases stood above the rest. “I think we’re going to see a big jump in smart home technology,” explained Grote. “5G has the capability to bridge different smart home components together, as it combines all the benefits of WiFi, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and more.”

Schenck shared similar thoughts. “With much faster connections between devices, we’ll see completely new models of self-service,” said Schenck. “Our devices will be able to ‘talk’ to each other, and ultimately make our lives much easier.”

Cloud gaming stood out as a particularly compelling use case. According to Grote, “if telcos are looking for a way to monetize 5G for consumers, cloud gaming is a strong candidate.” 5G monetization strategies are a big focus for CSPs who are investing billions into its infrastructure. 

“There’s an opportunity to offer big data packages, and even bundle in hardware,” Grote explained. “This could create new revenue streams and provide entry points for new target demographics.”

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