Operators not supporting 5G needs of 99% of world’s businesses

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This is according to a new report carried out by Omdia: SMEs make up that 99%.

Network operators are not investing enough time and resource in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) market, according to a report commissioned by BearingPoint//Beyond and carried out by Omdia.

SMEs represent 99% of the world’s businesses and the services market for the sector could be worth up to $433 billion (€356 billion) by 2025 –  but remains vast and untapped in the main, although a few operators are getting it right – see below.

Wrong focus

Most operators focus most (70%) of their resources on the enterprise market that accounts for only 1% of global businesses.

The companies reckon that many SMEs already see value in 5G and see operators as their trusted partner for 5G, with 42% looking to them to execute their 5G strategies.

Network operators believe that large, multinational enterprises will drive 5G revenues, but respondents from large enterprises did not regard operators as their primary 5G provider.

Rather, the report found that 72% of enterprises would prefer to work with a service provider that is not a telco – 31% said they would choose cloud service providers and 34% favour doing it themselves.

5G in not 4G

Angus Ward, CEO, BearingPoint//Beyond, commented, “CSPs [communication service providers] are still trying to approach 5G the same way they approached 4G, with a clear focus on consumer and enterprise…5G opens new opportunities for CSPs and one of them is the SME segment.

"Digitalization and COVID-19 have transformed the needs of SMEs and their awareness of the impact that new technologies such as 5G, IoT, and AI can have on their business to enhance productivity and efficiency, and boost sales.

“Our previous research highlighted that on average 73% of global SMEs see 5G as important to their business…[but] it’s clear that it’s not 5G technology that they’re after, instead SMEs understand that 5G is one part of a broader technology solution that they need.

“[Some] 93% of SMEs told us that it’s more important for CSPs to collaborate with an ecosystem of partners to build solutions that better fit their needs than to simply provision 5G services”.

Getting it right

Camille Mendler, Chief Analyst, Enterprise Services, Service Provider & Communication, Omdia, commented, “SMEs…already view CSPs as their trusted 5G partners…In some cases, global CSPs have launched programs that are capitalizing on the SME opportunity.

"Vodafone Spain offers an all-inclusive value proposition providing SMEs with compelling mobile-first productivity tools. SK Telecom is partnering with the Korea Smart Factory Data Association and software developer, BISTel, to offer a 5G-based big data analysis service to manufacturing SMEs.

"These types of collaborative approaches demonstrate how CSPs can marry 5G capabilities and other assets with ecosystem players to deliver profound value to SMEs.”