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5G and IoT can empower telcos to become much more than bandwidth suppliers – but the shift will require the right strategy, approach and vision. Learn about our three-pronged approach for telcos.

GSMA estimates that the number of global IoT connections will rise to 25 billion by 2025. Today, however, speed, latency and capacity issues around telecom networks limit the potential of IoT solutions. Similarly, existing networks are constrained by how many devices can connect concurrently to a cell site, hampering applications that require a massive number of sensors to gather and interchange data. 

5G changes all this. Its new capabilities will enable high-speed video streaming everywhere, remote execution of mission-critical tasks, and the connectivity of massive numbers of sensors. So far, telcos have been chiefly performing the role of connectivity providers for IoT. By exploring a greater share of the IoT value chain, forward-looking telcos can create new streams of high-revenue digital services.

A three-pronged approach

How to make it happen? Telcos must escape the commoditization trap, seizing a more substantial role as service creators and providers for IoT-enabled industries. The IoT value chain comprises device-, platform-, application- and service-level stages, and each provides an opportunity for telcos to play a major enabling role. 

Cloud and analytics solutions cut horizontally across these stages of the value chain. Here, too, telcos can provide cloud-based services and data analytics solutions as value-added services. 

We recommend a three-pronged approach (learn about the approach in detail here) for telcos seeking to tap into a larger share of this composite value chain: 

  • Network slicing to serve broader and targeted IoT needs, to enable precisely tuned solutions such as remote healthcare. 
  • Industry-vertical partnerships with joint solutions for connectivity-enabled industry services. 
  • New data services through “API-fication” where value-chain players, third-party platforms and devices connect and exchange data.

Looking ahead, as telcos invest in building their 5G infrastructure, they should weave IoT enablement into their platforms from the ground up, viewing it from a holistic perspective. Please visit our Communications section for more information. 

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