There is broad-based optimism for 5G revenue opportunities among telecoms organisations, but only if the new 5G services are both more secure and better tailored to key enterprise use cases.
A survey conducted by TelecomTV in association with HardenStance and ETSI also found that 5G has the potential to boost consumer and enterprise market, bringing a series of benefits such as high speeds, lower latency and more bandwidth.
The fifth generation of mobile standards also pave the way to enhance domains such as healthcare, transport with autonomous vehicles or smart cities, offering new usages and improving daily lives.
On the other hand, 5G increase considerably the number of connected devices which provide a new profitable field for cyber adversaries.
Considering this, mobile network operators and enterprises must have a strong cybersecurity strategy that can protect their entire infrastructure, from the mobile core to the edge.
Overall, almost 90% of respondents anticipate growth in average revenue per user (ARPU) from their investments. This growth is expected to be split evenly between public and private 5G networks, but since at least half of all private networks are likely to be built and managed by the operators, such companies could potentially capture as much as 75% of the overall 5G business.
Critical to achieving these gains however, according to 64% of respondents, will be the augmentation of existing security – as much in terms of architecture as in operations – as well as the tailoring of solutions to specific business use cases which are either critical or very important for nearly three quarters of respondents – especially within the key vertical markets of transport, logistics, automation, manufacturing and healthcare.
The overarching implication of this is that the old business model of providing undifferentiated mobile connectivity services will no longer suffice. To succeed, most will need to create shared-responsibility partnerships with other providers as well as with their enterprise customers.
The need to partner with other ecosystem providers – even those recognized as competitors – was clear among the survey’s respondents with 44% seeing cloud providers as partners, or at least mainly partners, and only 11% viewing them as pure competitors.
These findings map well to the existing division of responsibility between cloud providers and their enterprise customers, where the maintenance and security of the infrastructure falls to the provider, while the enterprise is left to secure its own data and applications.
Cybersecurity is a top of mind consideration. More than 80% of survey respondents consider that the inherent security features of 5G 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)’s specifications as nothing more than a baseline for the 5G market. And 62% of all respondents asserted that some, or most, 5G use cases will require additional security features.
In addition, providing a value proposition that extends beyond connectivity – as 61% of respondents consider unlikely business growth in ARPU if they confine themselves mainly or entirely to the connectivity layer of the 5G value chain – and adequately addresses the increased security requirements of 5G and the use cases it will deliver, was regarded as either critical, or very important by almost 90% of respondents.
Ronen Shpirer, director: solutions marketing at Fortinet, comments: “From an infrastructure perspective, the migration of today’s mobile networks to 5G – especially standalone (SA) implementations – creates new security imperatives that extend well beyond inherent 5G capabilities as defined by 3GPP.
“The virtualised, distributed and dynamic nature of the 5G core combined with massive increases in scalability, the growing utilisation of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), and overall critical use cases, requires strong security for the underlying infrastructure and the business use cases.”