5G will bring much more than unprecedented speed. The 5G architecture will profoundly transform the way we experience our homes and cities, will make enterprises smart, highly efficient and create value in ways never imagined before. Today, consumer expectations for a faster, smarter, more convenient, transformative digital world are driving a conversation within our industry on how to extract maximum value from 5G, and use cases such as smart factories, autonomous vehicles, remote surgery and immersive mobile VR and AR are at the forefront. But what this conversation lacks is a true understanding of the place of the service provider in the value chain, beyond providing baseline connectivity. Indeed, for service providers, the real promise of 5G lies in the opportunity to revolutionize the monetization paradigm. 5G will enable operators to expand their value proposition to the 5G-enabled services they can deliver to their consumers, enterprises and service partners.

From my conversations with top executives from the leading Service Providers in the region, the biggest challenges they face today is a clear line-of-sight to returns while they have taken the decision to move ahead with 5G commercial deployments. The swift digital transformation of their networks, business processes and the competence of their workforce are critical challenges they have to deal with to stay ahead of the curve.

What 5G brings to the table

Just like any new technology, 5G promises greener pastures for governments, businesses, and consumers. The technology’s blazing speeds and high bandwidth will change what users expect from digital services or applications – more than ever, buzzwords like ‘frictionless, seamless and always-on’ will become table stakes in future offerings.

Governments will turn cities and towns into smart-zones, with automated sensors providing online, real-time information on traffic, weather, and other information crucial for citizens’ safety and well-being. Enterprises will leverage Service Provider networks as a platform to digitize themselves, make their operations smart and create value in a way never seen before.

The demand from Enterprise customers

5G will enable enterprises to mobilize their workforces, extend automation and support new applications through higher data rates and an increased network capacity. Alongside Wi-Fi 6, which is built from the same foundation, 5G represents the next wave of wireless access for enterprises and will enhance performance for advanced applications including mission-critical IoT assets used in manufacturing, automation, healthcare, energy, and other industries.  Service providers can benefit from bridging Wi-Fi and 5G networks, enabling them to create multiple, customized virtual private networks for specific customers and applications, creating a value-priced, services-based network that can be monetized.

Network slicing is a key characteristic of 5G that optimizes enterprise relevance, allowing 5G Mobile Network Operators to create and manage Service Level Agreements for all types of traffic and policies. This crucial security, privacy and performance capability enables carriers to segregate traffic and keep sensitive enterprise data separate from normal traffic, resulting in a seamless, end-to-end segmentation for network traffic. This essentially offers the Network as a Service (NaaS) approach, providing a flexible dynamic network configuration based on user-specific service requirements instead of a one-size-fits-all architecture.

Getting your network ready

Service providers must transform their networks and their revenue models to prepare for this future demand. Transformation of the core, mobile backhaul, transport network, OSS and BSS are crucial steps towards becoming 5G-ready and ultimately going live but would require capital expenditure investment. Multi-access edge computing capabilities, previously the domain of high-density locations like stadiums or airports, will have to be implemented network-wide to serve the multitude of users and machines that will inevitably demand a 5G connection. Virtualization, automation, and intelligent security should also be baked into true 5G networks.

Cisco recently supported T-Mobile on executing a standalone end-to-end 5G data session in North America, a world first on a multi-vendor 5G next generation radio and core network. Closer to home, Cisco was a key partner to KT in South Korea as they launched the world’s first 5G commercial service in April 2019, with a 5G infrastructure and platform designed with Cisco mobile packet core, data center and SP Routing solutions. In the Philippines, Cisco has embarked on a multi-year partnership with PLDT to drive effective network transformation as a foundation for a 5G network that will serve over 100 million citizens.

On the other end of the development spectrum, Cisco worked closely with Rakuten, Inc. to create Rakuten Mobile Network, a true greenfield mobile Service Provider. Unbridled by existing network architecture, Cisco and the Rakuten team developed an innovation blueprint to build the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network ready for 5G.

Show me the money

According to this year’s Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast update (2017 – 2022), mobile traffic will represent nearly 20 percent of global IP traffic and will reach 930 exabytes annually by 2022. That’s nearly 113 times more than all global mobile traffic generated just ten years prior, in 2012. Mobile technologies will continue to connect more people and things than ever before. What’s most pertinent for our consideration is that by 2022, mobile networks will support more than four billion IoT connections around the world.

As governments around the world invest in smart city development, ultra-reliable low latency communication (uRLLC) and massive machine-type communication (mMTC) facilitated by 5G will play major roles in enabling autonomous vehicles, 24/7 sensors and other next-generation products and services. In partnership with public and private organizations, Cisco has been a major force in shaping smart cities all over the world, from Kansas City to Jaipur, from Incheon to Adelaide.

The 5G networks powered by Cisco in Korea have also been the foundation for discussions with healthcare providers to build 5G-powered digital hospitals, enabling patients to control their beds, lighting and television sets with their voice. AR-based indoor navigation services will also enhance the convenience of patients and visitors, while continuously gathered patient-specific data and the ability to instantaneously process and analyse information will give doctors and patients greater ability to manage conditions without delay.

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In India, the ability to automate agricultural tasks has the potential to transform the country’s economy. Theoretically, a farmer could control 10 autonomous harvesters remotely at the same time, increasing his efficiency, throughput, and profits. Sensors in the ground could analyze and predict crop failure or dehydration ahead of time, eradicating scarcity or famine as we know it.

These use-cases are already being explored for feasibility and implementation and will be commonplace in just a few short years. Each device or sensor connected to the Internet will rely on a low-latency high-speed 5G connection, creating revenue streams for mobile Service Providers around the world.

Equipped for 5G success

With decades of experience and a best-of-breed portfolio spanning technology from Mass scale networking, Segment routing, Cloud, Data Center, SDN and virtualization, as well as engineering, multi-vendor system integration, security and operations expertise, we are well-positioned to partner Service Providers on their transformations in the quest for making 5G a commercial success.

From greenfield to brownfield mobile networks, autonomous cars to consumer devices, or driverless automobiles to blood pressure monitors, Cisco has the solution for a connected future.

I look forward to meeting with you at 5G Asia 2019 to discuss how Cisco can power your journey to 5G.

Cisco is a Gold Sponsor at 5G Asia and Network Virtualization Asia 2019 held in Singapore on 11-12 September. Visit Cisco and learn more from Cisco about 5G and our solutions from our presentations at the event:

5G Asia

Cisco at 5G Asia Keynote Panel: 5G deployment choices

Day 1: Wed, 11 Sept, 11:55 AM – 12:25 PM

Cisco at 5G Asia Track: Capturing new high margin enterprise revenue with 5G

Day 1: Wed, 11 Sept, 16:20 PM – 16: 40 PM

Network Virtualization & SDN Asia

Cisco at NV Asia Panel: Implementing virtualized services with private, public or hybrid clouds

Day 1: Wed, 11 Sept, 14:00-14:30

For more details about Cisco 5G, visit www.cisco.com/go/5g








Sanjay Kaul

Vice President, Service Provider Business, Asia Pacific & Japan

Global Service Provider