Beginning in 2020 we will live in a 5G enabled world. 5G will deliver huge benefits for users and numerous opportunities for new services and their providers. But delivering 5G will not be easy for network operators. Delivering 5G services will require network operators to make fundamental changes. Some network operators will not be prepared. So which operators will survive the arrival of 5G?

Complacency may lead some to think that survival is not an issue; they may assume that they’re too big to fail. However, history has taught us that failing to prepare for technological change can bring down even the largest businesses. In 2002 alone, 23 telecom companies went out of business costing half a million jobs – including the biggest bankruptcy in US history.

Today’s markets are competitive and managing the networks is challenging, but they will appear arcane and relaxed when we look back from the 5G world. Data volumes and the number of connected devices are just two of the measures which will multiply – seemingly overnight. In the 5G world, the network won’t matter to users – they will simply expect it to be available everywhere. When a HD film can be downloaded, anywhere, in the same time it takes to read its title aloud, winning customers will be about services and not networks. And yet the services we’ll use in the 5G world – the killer apps of tomorrow – have yet to be conceived. Which is why 5G is a huge opportunity.

But 5G is also a threat. Consumers, content providers and the makers of the killer Apps of tomorrow will simply expect excellent service and move, swiftly, to another provider if they don’t get it. Networks will have to thrive while handling much larger volumes of data and connected devices interacting with layers of services old and new. This will require new thinking, clear planning, design and transition strategies. The ultimate goal for operators will not be survival, but to be competitive in this changing market. But survival is the first objective.

Survival requires action now. Network operators need to find ways to Unify system management and Simplify its visualisation and control. Some proactive Network Operators are already discovering that these two steps bring immediate benefits including huge cost savings as well as increased capabilities.

They are now looking to step further ahead by adding intelligent automation to eliminate repeated processes and deliver even more efficiency savings. In addition, they are preparing further enhancements to Enable their new customer solutions that are flexible and agile.

Our advice, and our mission, is to enable our customers so that they can seize the opportunities and thrive. Not everybody will heed the advice. But to those who want to thrive – those who recognise the challenges and want to be prepared – I say: Unify, Simplify, Enable.

Eirteic CEO, Patrick Buttimer