For the telecoms sector, 2018 was a year of “seeing how new technologies pan-out”. NFV finally started to see some market traction after years of deliberating over standards, 5G began to see business cases come into fruition, and IoT has started to move beyond electric cars and toothbrushes and into the psyche of even the SMEs. 2019 will be the year that technologies bed in, and with that comes new opportunity.
#1: Service providers will restructure to win IoT business
To play in IoT, operators need to be seen as IoT technology enablers, beyond just connectivity. Because every IoT enterprise project or service differs from the next one, (by business model, commercial model, technology eco-system, industry, skillset, resource levels), service providers will prepare to deliver IoT business solutions using a building block approach including connections, device management, application development and revenue management services. The approach will be more consultative, providing a service to businesses, a radical shift from pre-designed traditional telecom/communication products. There will be increased dependency on new partner vendors in order to provide serviced components which suit the agile nature of the IoT market.
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#2: 5G commercialisation will centre around enterprise
Operators will continue to evaluate mobile plans that balance recouping investment while enticing take-up with models such as multi-companion, n-play and application-based formats. However, a significant area of return still falls on the use of 5G to provide agile private 5G QoE/S linked networks to enterprises and partners via wholesales, IoT and business deals. This is still Phase 2 away but we will start to see operators in 2019 detailing their B2B2X requirements for BSS needs in preparation. The difference this time is that their enterprise/B2B department carry more weight in BSS decisions over retail/consumer to capture pent-up enterprise market opportunity and service their demands.
#3: 2019 will see the rise of MVNO X
The MVNO/E model will start to go beyond competitive and niche retail offers, into dedicated services for enterprise and IoT services. By being able to repackage networks services from many different operators and network technologies, including LPWAN (low powered wide area networks), MVNO’s are better positioned to offer enhanced flexibility to enterprise. In addition, their size lends to better agility and ease of business that still challenge network operators today - especially as they can focus on specific segments with application platform designed for chosen verticals. In 2019 we will see a number of new entrants and MVNO/E announcements in this space, filling in gaps left by recent IoT and Enterprise MVNO acquisitions. And they won’t want to be called an MVNO!