AMSTERDAM – BearingPoint//Beyond today launched new research that suggests communications service providers (CSPs) are failing to develop the business-to-business (B2B) solutions that are critical to the commercial success of 5G. The study also finds that businesses around the world are more ambitious about the role CSPs will play in 5G than CSPs are themselves.
5G is the first generation of mobile technology that will have a bigger impact on businesses than on consumers. On average across Europe, Asia and North America, CSPs anticipate a 15% increase in current revenues from B2B 5G services (significant in an industry struggling with sub-2% compound annual revenue growth). 75% of enterprises and small to medium businesses (SMBs) believe 5G will be important to their business citing speed, reliability and more advanced solutions as key reasons.
"Businesses want to buy 5G, CSPs want to sell 5G. The problem is that CSPs want to just sell connectivity and standardized 'connectivity plus infrastructure' products, while businesses want to buy more sophisticated, complete solutions that better fit their needs and require the integration of multiple technologies from multiple players," says Angus Ward, CEO, BearingPoint//Beyond.
CSPs must look to broaden their role from communications to providing the broader technologies that support business customers. They need to collaborate with customers to co-innovate and co-create more compelling and sophisticated solutions with a wide range of ecosystem partners, including OTTs, web-scale companies, vertical specialists, even competitors, to meet the demands of business customers.
"CSPs must learn the art of ecosystem orchestration if they want to monetize 5G at scale," cautions Ward. "Businesses don't want to build these solutions themselves. And while the vast majority would happily work with CSPs, they're not waiting around - businesses are already partnering with other companies to solve their business problems. They must move quickly."
Regional insights & actions
- CSPs are pinning their 5G hopes on 4G business models - consumer services and enterprise connectivity. Just a third of CSPs believe their role will extend beyond simple connectivity plus infrastructure offerings. Only 10% of European CSPs believe they will become ecosystem orchestrators.
- 92% of European businesses believe CSPs have a bigger role to play than just providing communications and connectivity. Almost seven in 10 want CSPs to offer 5G solutions that combine their assets with those of partners.
- Enterprises want to work with CSPs to develop 5G solutions because they can orchestrate ecosystems, manage complex programs and understand 5G technology.
"European CSPs must re-engineer their mindsets, and businesses, to capitalize on this opportunity," says Ward.
- Confidence and ambition are highest amongst North American CSPs.
- More than three quarters of CSPs agree that creating vertical specific solutions using ecosystems of partners represents a big 5G opportunity. 40% expect to become ecosystem orchestrators.
- North American businesses agree: 96% believe CSPs have a bigger role to play – citing ecosystem orchestration, complex program management and flexibility as reasons they want to work with CSPs to develop 5G use cases.
"North American CSPs now need to act fast, building the right partnerships and the right IT platform to enable them to operate an ecosystem required to meet the expectations of their business customers," recommends Ward.
- More attention is being paid to 5G connectivity-driven models than higher value solutions by Asian CSPs. Just 17% see themselves as ecosystem orchestrators.
- Yet 94% of Asian businesses believe that CSPs can do more than provide communications and connectivity – nearly seven in 10 think CSPs should offer sophisticated services using an ecosystem of partners.
- Again, ecosystem orchestration, complex program management and their knowledge of 5G make CSPs attractive partners for Asian businesses.
"Enterprises and SMBs alike are practically crying out to work with CSPs on 5G solutions - Asian CSPs must heed this call, shake off their doubts and act quickly," advises Ward.
The time is NOW
"In 5G B2B terms, CSPs are pushing at an open door. 98% of European businesses, 92% of Asian businesses and 87% of North American businesses are willing to buy advanced solutions from their CSP. But these must be solutions that address their specific business needs. The only way CSPs can achieve this is orchestrate ecosystems of partners to co-create compelling new solutions that embed 5G," continues Ward.
"If CSPs continue to define their role too narrowly, they will miss out entirely on the high margin opportunities in B2B 5G. Connectivity represents a tiny portion - as low as 5% - of the revenue for each use case. By not taking a lead now, CSPs are gifting the majority of 5G revenues to a new generation of OTTs. The much higher cost of 5G networks means they are seriously jeopardising the ability to monetize their 5G investments. CSPs must quickly master the art of ecosystem orchestration if they want to monetize 5G at scale. If they don't, technology providers and vertical solution providers will. In Asia, CSPs are already seen as 'second choice' partners for businesses building 5G use cases, in North America CSPs rank third, in Europe, fourth. CSPs have to demonstrate ambition and make up ground quickly. Inaction will cost CSPs billions of dollars," concludes Ward.
To download a free copy of 'If B2B is the 'North Star' for 5G revenues: how do CSPs get there?', please visit https://www.bearingpointbeyond.com/en/industries/5g/5g-b2b/.