Published: 28/06/2022
Author: Greg Collins

Around the world, airwaves are filled with the promise of 5G. The promise to consumers is that 5G is faster and better than 4G. The promise to network operators—as the owners of those extremely expensive airwaves—is that 5G will drive new revenues. Moreover, as growth and profits in the communications industry inevitably move beyond the smartphone, service providers need to position themselves to capture as much value as possible. To do this, operators should look at one of their foundational services—voice—as a means to add value. A recent research report by Exact Ventures, in partnership with Oracle Communications, concluded the following:

The confluence of 5G standards and cloud native technologies and processes have created an important opportunity for service providers to recast their voice, real-time communications (RTC) services, and networks for the next decade and perhaps beyond.

  • Voice remains a vital, fundamental network service for operators. While voice services will not drive new customers into company stores, nor increase their monthly bills, poor services are sure to drive them into their competitors’ stores.
  • There are great opportunities in extending voice and RTC services to access new 5G use cases but work needs to be done in refining the application of voice to these new use cases and their associated monetization strategies. Similarly, there are strong opportunities for operators to leverage their network resources to the developer community via APIs and partnerships with public cloud providers.
  • There are opportunities for vendors to help operators expand their IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and session delivery networks to support 5G voice and other fixed line and enterprise services via cloud native technologies. 5G voice will thereby become the ‘anchor tenant’ to a modern IMS and session delivery system, which can then be leveraged to provide a variety of voice and RTC services.

Revenue generation is not the sole benefit of transitioning voice and real-time communications to 5G and a cloud native infrastructure. As operators evolve how they provision and operate their networks, they can begin to shift away from a capital expenditure and depreciation model of purchasing network capacity that had to account for peak or busy hour needs, to purchasing capacity on an as-need basis. Currently, many operators still purchase perpetual licenses via CapEx and software subscriptions via OpEx. Nevertheless, there is nearly universal acknowledgement that software-as-a-service (SaaS) is the future.

More insights into operators’ plans and attitudes toward voice and real-time communications services can be found in “Reimagining Voice and Real-Time Communications Services”.     

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