5G and AI vital for future growth

By embracing 5G, new services, capabilities, new agile ways of working and entirely new customer groups are emerging, says Willets


THE implementation of 5G network and artificial intelligence (AI) would not only change the future, but also provide room for growth in any country to leverage on, said TM Forum CEO Nik Willets.

Willets said 5G is only a set of technology, whereas 5G plus AI can change the world fundamentally.

“We want to help connectivity providers seize growth opportunities of the decade ahead as the pace of change is rapidly accelerating. The importance of using 5G and AI to change the game is critical to this future,” he said.

By embracing 5G, he said, new services, capabilities, new agile ways of working and entirely new customer groups are emerging.

Ericsson head of digital services for Asia-Pacific Alvise Carlon said 5G will be the biggest platform for innovation.

“There is tremendous excitement about the capabilities of 5G and the services it will enable. 5G is going faster, we are predicting that 5G subscriptions will reach 1.9 billion by the end of 2024,” Carlon said.

TM Forum, themed “Digital Transformation Asia”, addressed the impact of 5G on the telecommunication (telco) and transportation industries.

Among the forum’s participants were Telstra Corp Ltd, Verizon Wireless, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Ericsson. It was also attended by more than 260 companies worldwide for learning, networking and collaboration.

Meanwhile, MCMC chief digital officer Gerard Lim stressed that 5G is not just about a faster smartphone experience, but about transforming industries — including telecos, entertainment/media, smart cities, manufacturing and education.

The forum also highlighted that in the 5G era, communications service providers (CSPs) are shifting their business strategy from the 2C (to-customer) market to the 2B (to-business) market, which means the key issues for 5G monetisation are new business models and revenue methods.

The ability to translate 5G opportunities into profitable business operations and experiences requires innovative charging and billing services.

As CSPs deploy 5G in their access networks and software-defined networking in the core, network slicing will become an important capability for targeting enterprises.

Last week, The Malaysian Reserve reported that the commercial launch of 5G network in Malaysia may take place in 2021, as coverage will be limited to major cities due to insufficient spectrum bandwidth and the uncertainty of the business case.

Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings Inc said the 5G network costs are expected to accelerate the consolidation of the local telco sector.

Fitch gave a ‘Stable’ outlook for the Malaysian telco sector in 2020, but believes expensive 5G airwaves will leave telcos with less flexibility to weather the capital expenditure upcycle.