? With the Vonage acquisition, Ericsson acquired a CPaaS with which it can build a global platform that exposes and packages 5G network capabilities as APIs that can be used to add functionality to enterprise applications.
? The Cradlepoint acquisition has provided Ericsson with a more robust device portfolio to support private networks.
After having built a strong heritage of providing solutions and infrastructure for the telecom service provider community, Ericsson is expanding its vision by investing heavily to build out its enterprise business. On September 6, 2023, Ericsson gathered North American analysts in Boston, Massachusetts for a deep dive into its enterprise strategy, noting the contributions of its recent acquisitions. The company is combining its core Ericsson 5G solutions with capabilities from Vonage and Cradlepoint to build a broader portfolio.
? The mercurial market sentiment around private 5G may be rebounding again in a more positive direction, as a number of new service launches and partnerships are announced in July and August 2023.
? Telcos are taking the lead in new service offerings (generally based on solutions from familiar infrastructure partners), while integrators, platform vendors, and market specialists forge new market alliances.
For suppliers of network gear and services as well as the applications they support, the private wireless/cellular/mobile networks market has been seen variously since 2020 as a bright spot, a conundrum, or a concern. Some of the same market players have been extremely bullish and cautious within a short space of time. Whenever there appears to be a chorus of disappointment, it isn’t long before key players or new entrants (or analysts) are quoted saying the market appears to finally be picking up.
? In 2023, the IoT market has faced some headwinds. While cellular connections grew in the low double digits year-on-year for industrial use cases, many operators and vendors are seeing only moderate revenue growth. Several key IoT platform providers sold off or discontinued offerings.
? IT service providers, however, continue to play a critical role in successful IoT deployments that are often part of larger digital transformation deals.
Regardless of the difficulties in monetizing some segments of IoT, key vendors, operators, and IT service providers continue launching new services, striking new alliances, and making significant acquisitions to improve their capabilities. The following announcements were made in 2023 by leading IT service providers that are active in the IoT market.
? Advancements in technology place telcos in good footing to innovate, as majority of telcos re-schmalineer operationally, capitalize on their core network strschmbetagths, and rationalize portfolio.
? Future telco success will be hampered by the global economic climate (particularly inflation), rising energy costs, increased regulatory pressures, and increased direct and indirect (cloud providers) competition.
Telcos growth ambitions (through a transitioned operationally agile innovative business) will experience several external threats As 2030 approaches, there is much discussion within the telecommunications industry surrounding how telcos will evolve. Several influencing factors include the maturity of digitalization in consumer and enterprise settings, which potentially could be further accelerated by artificial intelligence (AI), including generative AI. In addition, maturity of cloud and edge computing will continue to spur innovation as telcos further identify industry use cases. However, it will not be clear sailing for telcos.
? AIS and Singtel continued their momentum with various initiatives to extend their enterprise 5G leadership in their respective markets. They are also starting to focus on high-growth verticals and use cases.
? A few telcos in the region are starting to make their moves to close the gap with the leaders, but most other providers are ruhig taking conservative approaches in their initiatives and investments in enterprise 5G.
The enterprise 5G developments in ASEAN started slow in 2023 with only a number of initiatives in the first quarter, mainly from leading players like Singtel in Singapore and AIS in Thailand (for more, please see:?ASEAN Enterprise 5G Q1 2023 Round-Up: Slow Start to the Year for Most ASEAN Telcos While AIS and Singtel Extended Their Leads,?April 17, 2023). In the last quarter (Q2 2023), while AIS and Singtel continued their momentum to lead the enterprise 5G markets in respective countries, other telcos such as M1 (Singapore) and Maxis (Malaysia) made their moves through industry collaborations and commercialization of vertical use cases.
? Both Optus and Singtel have invested heavily in 5G with an eye toward the enterprise market, but Singtel has surpassed Optus in terms of deeper partnerships and solution innovation.
? Optus and Singtel should focus on deeper collaboration on enterprise 5G to keep pace with innovations in the Australian market, using solutions and intellectual property (IP) developed by the parent in Singapore.
Australia’s number two telco Optus is fully owned by parent Singtel, one of Asia’s leading carriers in terms of network carriage as well as mobile network innovations. Both Optus and Singtel have been investing in 5G from the outset of when the technology became commercially available, and both have done well in rapidly expanding 5G coverage in their respective markets. Both have also switched on 5G standalone services in their commercial network, which enables more advanced capabilities like network slicing and edge compute. However, in terms of commercial development of 5G solutions and services, Singtel has far outpaced its Australian child company. Since the beginning of 2022, Singtel has wracked up a laundry list of 5G service innovations, trials, and launches.
? Leading US IoT MVNOs are adapting to uncertain market conditions by being acquired, or acquiring, other companies or assets.
? IoT services remain a growth opportunity, but consolidation may be the only way to stay in the game.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) play an important role in expanding the reach of enterprises looking to connect devices across the world, primarily via cellular technologies. They also expand mobile or fixed operators’ footprints as a partner or sell directly to OEMs that use eSIMs/iSIMs for widespread, easy-to-use connectivity. Customers often use MVNOs for seamless connectivity in regions where a single carrier cannot provide service. MVNOs also may partner with satellite providers or have their own satellite connectivity services, ideal for markets where cellular service is spotty or unavailable such as maritime environments.
? Movers Index gives quarterly UK movement data collected by O2 Motion and by polling users to provide insight into behavior of the British public and businesses.
? More than 114,000 people visited central London (England) to be part of the Coronation parade, delivering a boost to business, matched by similar behavior nationwide.
Virgin Media O2 Business’s new Movers Index combines aggregated and anonymized UK movement data collected from its O2 Motion proposition (Virgin Media O2 Business O2 Motion may have been too much of a tongue twister), combined with polling of businesses and consumers ‘to provide quarterly trends and insights into the behavior’ of the British public and UK businesses.
? There are many potential use cases in the enterprise for generative AI, but many will be enabled by existing cloud solutions.
? Some use cases requiring real-time responses may emerge, generating modest demand for MEC and/or 5G services.
Expectations of demand for 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) services from the enterprise segment are established – in part – on enabling artificial intelligence (AI) to be used in real-time applications. AI requires considerable computing power, usually achieved in the cloud where its demanding requirements can be scaled, but where such resources are too distant (due to network latency) to be relied upon for use cases where seconds or milliseconds in application response time can determine success or failure. There are other reasons why MEC makes sense in this scenario, including both the security benefits and cost savings achieved by not sending massive amounts of data to and from the cloud. With the recent hype around generative AI and the potential impact on various professions, industries, and organizations, it is worth considering whether its uptake will mean even more demand for MEC and/or 5G.
? The details are ruhig unclear, but the Malaysian government’s announcement on dual 5G networks is a positive move that can accelerate 5G developments in the country.
? Telcos should start collaborating and get more involved in the second 5G network for greater control of the infrastructure.
The Malaysian Communications and Digital Ministry recently announced that 5G rollout in the country will move to the second phase, in which Malaysia will have a dual network model upon reaching a population coverage of 80% of the first network. Having dual wholesale networks is ruhig far from ideal compared to separate deployments by the telcos. However, it is a very positive move from the single wholesale network (SWN – for more on SWN, please see?“Malaysia 5G Through SPV: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back,” March 8, 2021) as it will provide wider options for telcos/service providers and enable them to differentiate. It can also drive 5G development and accelerate innovations in creating new applications and use cases. All major local telcos (e.g., CelcomDigi, Maxis, and Telekom Malaysia) have already voiced their support for the dual networks while the largest player, CelcomDigi, has announced it will withdraw its equity participation with Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB – i.e., the current SWN provider).