Confidence will be key to enterprise 5G success

5G investment set to soar, yet more than half of UK businesses lack the confidence to implement, finds EY study.
3 March 2020

Verizon’s 5G services started to roll out in the UK last year July. Source: AFP

UK businesses may be keen on a 5G-connected future, yet the confidence in achieving goals related to 5G initiatives remains limited, according to EY. 

The study, How 5G is redefining the world of enterprise, surveyed 200 UK cross-sector businesses and provides a glimpse into current business expectations of the new cellular technology. 

A key finding from the study is that 15 percent of businesses in the UK are investing in 5G, with a 70 percent rise within three years. However, only 44 percent are confident in their abilities to successfully implement and accommodate the exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) powered by 5G. 

A majority (75 percent) believe it will require a significant overhaul of existing operating systems to support the deployment of 5G-backed IoT.  This belief may be leading businesses to hold back from progressing 5G roadmaps. 

The study explained there is a heightened awareness surrounding 5G’s potential to reshape the businesses, with 74 percent responding that 5G will be introduced to their business processes over the next five years. Even so, of those already invested in 5G today, many are still in the discovery and planning phase.

More than half (61 percent) are still in the midst of discussions with 5G network providers or running trials on the technology, instead of integrating it into the operational phase. 

“UK businesses are keen to invest in 5G, but this is not matched by most organizations’ capabilities. To overcome this challenge and reach the full potential of 5G, providers need to articulate a more compelling vision of the opportunity, while businesses need to educate themselves on the game-changing possibilities,” said Praveen Shankar, EY’s Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications for the UK & Ireland. 

The report showed the formation of the right partnerships could unleash 5G’s potential in the years to come. This rings true for 79 percent of respondents as they rely on external support to kick-start robust 5G use cases. 

Interestingly, the potential for partnerships becomes a deciding factor for 76 percent of UK businesses when selecting a network provider, while cost or technology benefits come secondary. 

“It’s clear that enterprises now want consultative dialogue that delivers business outcomes through end-to-end solutions. 5G providers need to reinvent themselves as trusted partners, prioritizing access to an ecosystem of competencies that can deliver 5G capabilities at scale,” commented Adrian Baschnonga, EY’s Global Telecommunications Lead Analyst. 

In the long term, there will be an inclination for businesses to select 5G providers that can provide the “full spectrum of enterprise needs – from use case creation to cybersecurity.” Baschnonga elaborated that the transactional approach of 5G network providers and organizations will evolve towards building partnerships.