5G will be a Game Changer for Telecom Operators: Our Predictions for 2020

By: John Giere, President, Enea Openwave

0
279
John Giere, Enea Openwave

As we kick off 2020, we open a new dimension in wireless communications technology. 5G is here and expected to supercharge devices and communication networks in a big way. Based on our industry expertise and analysis, following are the predictions and trends of what our team of experts expect to unfold this year.

Prediction 1: 5G will amplify live streaming and viewing experience  

As 5G rolls out to deliver faster mobile networks, higher capacity and lower latency, mobile operators are working on new services and product offerings on their advancing 5G networks.  5G is drastically transforming mobile video, delivering high-end gaming experience to consumers. Majority of mobile operators are creating new partnerships with OTT service providers to enhance the delivery of sports and gaming coverage to consumers.

There has been a surge of traffic generated by myriad of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling TV, CBS All Access, Philo, YouTube TV and HBO Now. Infact 2019 witnessed the addition of even more new streaming channels, including Apple TV+ and AT&T TV and then came the giant of entertainment Mickey Mouse to the wireless stage in the form of Disney +.

Our live data shows that the Disney + service quickly reached #1 in Canada within days and is already rising rapidly in the US.  According to media industry sources, Disney could reach its 60 – 90 million subscribers much earlier than its 2024 goal. This result will have profound competitive implications for mobile operators and a host of new streaming protocols planning their future. In 2020, new streaming services are expected from NBC Universal Peacock (launching in April); HBO Max (expected in the spring); Discover/BBC (some time in 2020)

Prediction 2: With 5G, Cloud Gaming advances in 2020

5G networks will support cloud game streaming, enabling consumers to play digital games on their handsets without the need to own or install a copy of the game. 5G networks will eventually empower cloud gaming services and gamers will demand low latency, high-definition immersive experiences. These subscription-based services will give consumers access to a high-end gaming experience without requiring additional hardware. Operators believe that cloud gaming could represent 25% to 50% of 5G data traffic by 2022, based on the rapid progression of cloud gaming services in recent months. Cloud gaming services have already kicked off, with Google Stadia, GeForce NOW, PlayStation Now, Shadow, Vortex and Parsec already leading the pack.

To attract a premium consumer segment and deliver an authentic gaming experience, operators will have to get rid of buffering, stalling and latency levels, as these will not work and poor results will be career ending.  Operators will need to deploy a mix of software technologies to build networks that support up to four times more bandwidth than what currently exists on today’s networks – or it could be game over for their subscribers!

Prediction 3: Unified 5G data management layer: The way data is managed and processed demands new thinking

Mobile carriers have access to lots of data and there is tremendous potential to convert that data into new insights, which can be a new revenue streams in the future.  The advent of 5G has seen an evolution from managing just subscriber data to managing a whole variety of data, including information on policy, session, application and configuration. And, while some of this data may be stateful, increased virtualisation means much of it will be stateless. All of it, however, must be made available in real time to authorised applications, which may or may not reside in the cloud.

For mobile carriers this means embedding not only mobility but also AI/ML.  This AI/ML requirement should connect to every partner they choose to work with and every piece of software they purchase to put in their network. 

To achieve success in this transforming telecom landscape, it is important that mobile operators build a common data layer across their 5G applications and replicate data quickly and cost effectively as needed. As 5G networks become mature over 2020, operators will turn to these data layers to deliver new revenue by extending their capability to support 5G slices and stateless core services, while also delivering data at the edge for performance-sensitive, ultra-reliable low-latency applications like streaming and cloud gaming.

The way forward in 2020 In 2020, we will witness a range of streaming services, more immersive games and disruptive applications.  In order to enrich the quality of experience, 5G will present operators with both challenges and opportunities as they migrate to next generation networks. 2020 holds the promise of significant new revenue opportunities for mobile operators, capitalising on 5G’s promise of high speed and ultra-low latency to expand their service offerings.