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Only a third of telcos have a clear strategy in place for 5G, European study finds

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Only a third of telcos have a clear strategy for 5G, despite an overwhelming majority recognising the transformative potential of the technology for the sector.

So finds a study by leading IT services provider NTT DATA UK and research firm teknowlogy Group, which interviewed senior business leaders from across Europe to understand the complex picture of the current 5G market. It discovered that, while 94% of telcos believe 5G will transform the sector, only 35% have a clear strategy in place. With the technology set to play an increasingly vital role across all industries and timelines narrowing, more aggressive transformation roadmaps are required to make the most of 5G.

The research also raises concerns as to whether telcos are adequately prepared for the pace of 5G adoption, with almost half of telcos (46%) still exploring the value that 5G technology can offer.

Moreover, the findings show that project timelines are tight, as over half of enterprises (52%) expect to implement 5G solutions within the next year.However, the majority of telcos (88%) plan to implement 5G solutions over the next 24 months, which may create an overlap between buy-side demand and the sell-side supply.

Only 10% of telcos expect to generate more than 20% of revenue from 5G or 5G augmented products over the next five years.

Ollie O’Donoghue, Senior Analyst at PAC, a teknowlogy Group company, comments: “We’re starting to see enterprises take a serious look at the impact 5G will play on their business. And while optimism is high, leaders are beginning to recognise that a lot of work is still needed to develop the foundations necessary to deliver real value from 5G. Moreover, there is a pressing need to find solutions to a growing list of challenges – from the maturity of solutions on the market to robust security and data management capabilities to soothe compliance concerns. There’s a significant role to play for the evolving ecosystem of vendors and providers in the space as enterprises look for more support as they head further into their 5G journeys.”

Data management stands out as the key issue in implementation. 43 per cent of telcos claimed that this would be the biggest obstacle to 5G adoption in their business, with 35 per cent finding reliance and compliance issues to be one of the biggest barriers.

Other notable obstacles to adoption include:

  • Talent shortage (31%)
  • Limited pool of partners to support telcos (30%)
  • Legacy technology (28%)
  • Cultural challenges (24%)
  • Uncertainty around the true benefits of the technology (23%)

Matthew O’Neill, Head of Networks at NTT DATA UK, says: “5G stands to disrupt the telco industry more than most, given the high demand for 5G technology across all industries. As such, telco businesses need to ensure they have a clear strategy to manage the transformative impact of the technology and meet current demand. The benefits of wider implementation promise great opportunity, but clarity is needed to ensure a smooth transformation journey.”

He adds: “NTT DATA is helping clients to navigate the advent of 5G, and construct strategies that streamline the transition process and accelerate the development new services and solutions. Transformation programmes of this depth and scale historically take up significant time and resources, so a comprehensive strategy is required if telcos are to meet expectations and deliver on the potential of 5G.”

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