10 Ingredients for Realizing the 5G Promise
and 2022 Predictions with Jio

By: Aayush Bhatnagar

The telecom industry has been characterized by the ‘generational’ evolution of technology in the past four decades.

Mobile telephony took shape starting from 1G in 1979, when the first cellular network was launched in Japan. This was soon followed by the rollout of 1G in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway in the early 1980s. The next decade witnessed an inflection point, with 2G being launched in Finland in the 1990s. 2G was also known as GSM, which became popular across the world, and made cellular voice telephony ubiquitous.

The industry witnessed two more advancements, namely 3G (in 2001) and 4G (in 2009) that aimed at offering faster data speeds. These important milestones in cellular data telephony fueled the massive growth of the Internet and digitized our lives.

While 1G and 2G introduced voice and text as the ‘killer apps’, 3G and 4G offered mobile broadband connectivity in the comfort of our hands—enabling the OTT and smartphone ecosystem.

Today, we find ourselves at the cusp of another revolution—5G.

5G will not only enable person-to-person communication, but it will also digitize society and industries by connecting billions of machines and “things” in addition to people. Consumers will experience blazing fast speeds at lower latencies, leading to more per-capita data consumption. Everything that we touch, experience or “wear” will generate data, which will be connected via 5G. Early indicators of this trend are visible, through the popularity of wearable devices for example, and smart connected homes.

This explosive demand for data and low latency interactivity will be fulfilled by 5G, which will fuel revenue growth in the retail consumer segment.

Businesses, on the other hand, will leverage 5G to automate their industrial setups and supply chains as well as connect their assets through sensors for business intelligence. Data-driven decision-making will be facilitated through 5G proliferation as machine-to-machine communication gets deployed in volumes. This will yield benefits in OPEX optimization.

These strategic directions of 5G adoption will have a larger macro-economic impact as the benefits of technology will directly contribute to businesses’ bottom lines, either through new revenue streams or through greater OPEX savings.

Bridging the chasm between promise and practice

From the point of view of carriers, the 5G standard is not a mere “upgrade” from its predecessor. It is a complete overhaul of how telecom networks are architected, designed, and deployed. Carrier networks today are encumbered by legacy software, and with 5G the network is reimagined into a cloud-native, composable and nimble architecture.

5G opens an entirely new market that extends far beyond the traditional revenue streams of voice, messaging, and Internet connectivity.

To bridge the gap between the promise of 5G and its realization, there are ten key ingredients which will require flawless execution:

1. Cloud-native standalone 5G: ease of deploying new use cases

5G embraces the cloud ‘by design,’ rather than as an afterthought. Traditional network “boxes” have been rearchitected as network functions and organized around service-based interfaces.

5G network functions are packaged as portable images, which can be deployed either on-premises or in the public cloud. Hybrid models are also supported through this architecture, which may involve both the public as well as the private cloud.

As a result, hyperscalers such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon have become potential deployment choices. This accelerates the lifecycle of new services and use cases that are developed over 5G. Moreover, it gives carriers and their customers an asset-light option for scaling new services on-demand.

2. Ultra-low latency capabilities: expanding the horizons

5G defines ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC) as a key capability. Use cases such as cloud gaming, telemedicine, robotics, and drones leverage this 5G capability. Industrial automation through robotics will get a new impetus through 5G integration. 

This Industry 4.0 revolution is positioned to add new value to existing businesses, as well as open up new platform business models with 5G integration.

Many of these automation opportunities were not feasible using older technologies, and hence 5G adds value to industries through this key capability.


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