2022 was another year of unprecedented 5G progress as telecom raced in pursuit of new revenues. This week, Spirent proudly shared its view of the road ahead for next-gen network rollouts in its “” report.
Notably, our perspective is now based on more than 2,600 5G engagements to date.
Across every geography, all signs point to 5G network strategies that are more customized than any previous generation network. What’s in common are massive investments and a determined pursuit of new revenues with capital efficiency as a key consideration.
The technical complexity of 5G, escalating costs, achieving optimal efficiencies, fierce competition, and continued market uncertainty are challenging the entire ecosystem to embrace automation everywhere.
So, how are 5G stakeholders navigating the race for revenue?
Our fourth annual 5G outlook report once again explores highlights from the past year, trends driving activity, and predictions for the year ahead.
Buckle up andnow.
What we learned from more than 800 new 5G engagements
Spirent CEO Eric Updyke opens this year’s report noting that the industry now has both feet planted firmly in a vision we once could only see with a crystal ball. Much has been learned but there is still a challenging road ahead to pervasive 5G.
Service providers are coping with a volume and velocity of challenges they’ve not seen before. These range from getting multi-vendor systems and performance of network functions operational in the cloud to attaining scalable networks and reliable processes.
Our 2023 report explores a wide range of key developments and takeaways as service providers explore the most efficient paths to revenue, including:
5G for everyone. No longer reserved for the privileged, 5G has rolled out in 95 countries, servicing more than 1.2 billion people. But routes to reliable revenue differ by region and service provider. Some paths focus on autonomous testing, some on service experience, and some on service assurance.
More operators are all in. Following years of early engagements with 5G enablers like network equipment manufacturers, more than half of our 2022 work involved service provider engagements. Some are testing the 5G waters while others are deploying 5G Standalone (SA) core.
Cost control is in, too. Capital efficiency is a driving force behind a push for more automation in more parts of the end-to-end lifecycle, combined with CI/CD/CT frameworks to streamline operations and hedge against complexity.
Automation from lab to live network. There is strong recognition of the criticality of automation in managing the live network, in continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) processes, and in continuous testing (CT) of the ever-evolving 5G network. Automated active testing and assurance systems based on highly realistic traffic emulation are now widely considered table stakes for success.
Cloud-native and CT proving its value. Operators are recognizing that by moving labs and testing into the cloud, they can accelerate software life cycles from months and years to just weeks, giving them a sizeable innovation advantage.
Cloud and core challenges. Nearly half of our service provider projects focused on ensuring the cloud and core networks perform as expected and deliver a competitive service experience. Service providers are moving quickly to validate muti-vendor interoperability.
Business case validation. Instead of “we will build it and they will come,” service providers are using testing and benchmarking to validate business cases before jumping in.
A focus on customer experience. Growing attention is being paid to putting the customer first and providing the quality of experience they expect. There is increasing service provider focus on measuring the customer experience and competitive benchmarking.
Partnering to fill skill gaps and speed deployment. Industry skill set shortages, especially for cloud, security, and automation, have stimulated partnering with players who are already experts. Hosted labs are speeding ecosystem validation of use cases and technologies. Trusted partners have become essential in the race to revenue and controlling costs. Over last year our managed services engagements grew 15%.
Private networks. The market for private 5G networks is materializing, with adoption focusing on high-definition video monitoring and surveillance, and asset visualization. Stakeholders are recognizing the need for a simple set of SLAs, reliable performance, and site acceptance metrics, to drive investments.
Spirent’s 2023 report also takes a deep dive into the paths 5G is taking in different geographies. In the Americas, our 5G business was equally split between Standalone core and service assurance testing. We saw the EMEA market reaccelerate with a focus on the 5G core, cloud validation, and lifecycle automation. In APAC, the 5G SA core is powering industry use cases and preparing for high-capacity edge networks.
Beyond our own engagements, our report explores the hottest trends and tech advancements moving next-gen mobile forward, from video-rich experiences, to automation, Open RAN, non-terrestrial networks, Wi-Fi, and private 5G networks.
Finally, we provide our view of the market, including near-term 5G revenue opportunities, reflections on 5G business cases, the new value of benchmarking, the heightened importance of cost controls, the need for neutral and collaborative playing fields, and the important and evolving role of test and assurance.