4 minute read 16 Feb 2022
young female using touch screen on the street

How 5G providers can help businesses realise their ambitions

Authors
Praveen Shankar

UK&I Technology, Media and Telecommunications Market Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Broad experience in transformation and operations. Driving the 5G agenda. Focused on tackling the most pressing and complex business and technology challenges in the industry.

Adrian Baschnonga

EY Global Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT) Lead Analyst

Passionate about digital innovation and inclusion. Inspired by the arts, history and urban spaces.

4 minute read 16 Feb 2022

We highlight five key actions 5G providers can take to ensure that UK enterprises maximise the 5G opportunity now and in the future.

In brief
  • There is growing interest in 5G use cases that deliver greater levels of organisational resilience alongside demand for new deployment and collaboration models.
  • Businesses may struggle to make sense of how they can harness the combined potential of emerging technologies.
  • Business confidence in successful 5G implementation has stalled: 5G providers need to take action.

The EY Reimagining Industry Futures Study is based on a survey of 1,000 enterprises globally — including 170+ from UK. The report provides insights into business attitudes towards 5G and IoT. We outline five key actions for 5G providers to help their UK customers take full advantage of these emerging technologies and continue to build enterprise trust in TMT.

1.  Continuously evolve your 5G and IoT use cases to meet changing customer needs

The 5G opportunity is more substantial and wide-ranging than service providers may think. Organisational resilience and environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles have never been more important, and most enterprises are more interested than before in how 5G and the internet of things (IoT) can meet these changing business imperatives. Yet these considerations that are fuelling greater interest in 5G are also translating into new demands on 5G providers, which are under pressure to respond.

51% of UK respondants don’t think vendor 5G and IoT use cases meet their sustainability needs while 40% don’t think they address their business resilience needs. Despite this focus on near-term resilience, 33% cite sophisticated 5G use cases involving VR and AR as important, above the global average (28%). 5G providers should take these attitudes on board, ensuring that their use cases meet organisations’ critical near-term needs while also providing a compelling vision of how 5G can deliver long-term growth.

EY Reimagining Industry Futures Study - UK insights

79%

of businesses more interested than before in 5G and IoT due to supply chain disruption.

EY Reimagining Industry Futures Study - UK insights

68%

of businesses more interested than before in 5G and IoT due to Environmental, Social and Governance issues (ESG).

2.  Capitalise on the immediate opportunity presented by private networks

Enterprises are demanding 5G solutions that are delivered in new and disruptive ways. 72% of UK businesses are interested in using private networks to support their 5G and IoT use cases while 55% rate the purchase of private network capabilities as an important 5G investment strategy, citing a range of benefits led by greater network control and improved network reliability.

Meanwhile, 66% of businesses would be interested in buying 5G through an intermediary such as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), while 64% say that directly acquiring 5G spectrum could be important for them. Taken together, these customer sentiments underline the need for agile and responsive go-to-market strategies. Ultimately, enterprises can turn to a range of different service providers, if mobile operators cannot address their needs.

UK enterprise perceptions of private network benefits

Question: What do you see as the most important benefits of private mobile networks for your organisation? 

Benefits of private mobile networks chart

3.  Articulate how 5G aligns with other technologies to drive enterprise transformation

The outlook is bright for enterprises’ adoption of emerging technologies over the next three years. Future spending intentions are highest in 5G, with 56% of businesses planning to invest in the next one to three years. Yet, poor understanding of 5G concepts is a pain point for 73% of organisations. Crucially, enterprises lack awareness of 5G’s relationship to other emerging technologies such as edge computing: 43% of businesses cite this as an internal challenge, the leading answer among UK businesses and above the global average (39%). As businesses target digital transformation, they want to exploit a mutually beneficial combination of technologies. As a result, 5G providers must articulate how 5G can work alongside an array of ‘frontier’ technologies.

UK enterprise attitudes to emerging technologies

73%

of businesses require a much greater understanding of 5G use cases and concepts.

UK enterprise attitudes to emerging technologies

43%

of businesses cite a poor understanding of 5G’s relationship to other emerging technologies as an internal challenge.

4.  Make your ecosystem capabilities a core 5G competency

Going it alone to serve enterprise customers is simply no longer an option. UK businesses are more responsive than ever to ecosystems as a route to innovation: 60% already collaborate with other organisations as part of an ecosystem, and 66% believe that ecosystem strategies will become a significant driver of their growth in the next five years. It is vital that 5G providers recognise and act upon this, since 65% of businesses will prioritise vendors that can provide relevant ecosystem relationships as part of their 5G capabilities. This will help address businesses’ concerns: perceived immaturity of the partnering ecosystem is cited by 41% of businesses as an external challenge they face with 5G, ranking second and above the global average (38%).

UK enterprise attitudes to ecosystem capabilities

Statement: My organisation will prioritise vendors that can provide relevant ecosystem and executive relationships as part of their 5G capabilities 

Relevant ecosystem and executive relationships chart

5.  Deliver tangible results to build your credibility and boost enterprise confidence in 5G

While the outlook for 5G spending among UK businesses remains positive, underpinned by a growing recognition of 5G’s role in creating long-term value and resilience, there are signs of hesitation and doubt. Only 18% of enterprises are very confident in their ability to successfully implement 5G this year, down from 22% in 2020 and a reversal of previously improving sentiment. 5G providers need to come much closer to their customers, allaying their concerns and ensuring that 5G delivers real-world results and tangible improvements to their business processes. 

UK enterprise confidence in 5G implementation

Statement: I am confident in my organisation’s ability to successfully implement 5G

Successfully implement 5g chart
  • Methodology

    EY’s Reimagining Industry Futures Study is based on a survey of 1,000 enterprises worldwide – including 170 UK businesses – conducted in November 2021.

Summary

The outlook for 5G adoption is positive, and businesses welcome new types of use case and organisational deployment scenarios. However, they also struggle to understand the relationships between different emerging technologies, and their confidence in successful 5G implementations has stalled. An ecosystem mindset allied to clearer value propositions is mission-critical if 5G providers are to meet their customers’ changing expectations.

About this article

Authors
Praveen Shankar

UK&I Technology, Media and Telecommunications Market Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Broad experience in transformation and operations. Driving the 5G agenda. Focused on tackling the most pressing and complex business and technology challenges in the industry.

Adrian Baschnonga

EY Global Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT) Lead Analyst

Passionate about digital innovation and inclusion. Inspired by the arts, history and urban spaces.