Ericsson, a leading global telecommunications equipment supplier, has identified the need for new and innovative business as 5G technologies continue to emerge. With 5G technology enabling a wide variety of use cases, stakeholders in the wireless industry, especially the wireless carriers, must provide creative business models to effectively utilize 5G technologies. New business models need new perspectives on what can be considered as a customer, moving away from the carrier's traditional targets like individual subscribers. Some of the new business models proposed involve the Internet-of-Things, which include not only devices found in the home but also connected healthcare and industrial devices. The increased capacity and speed of 5G allows the wireless carriers to provide plans and services related to IoT devices not only to individuals but also to businesses and organizations. An example of how IoT devices can be useful to businesses is through tracking the performance of products sold to their customers, with the data gathered used to improve their products. Given the benefits of more data for product improvement, manufacturers of products will likely shoulder the bill for 5G connectivity used for the embedded IoT devices. New business models like these help improve the return on investment made on 5G infrastructure.
It is not the first time that the need for carriers to provide innovative business models and services is highlighted. CCS Insight has mentioned that there is a need for new plans and services that should suit and adapt to the lifestyle and use cases of individual subscribers. There were several suggestions made to the carriers for new data plans including plans based on speed tiers rather than data caps, and designation of unlimited plans as high-end offerings that complement cheaper plans with data caps. These plans allow the carriers to transform subscriber data use, improving the return on investment made on the infrastructure.
The testing and deployment of 5G are now in full swing, despite the lack of a 5G standard provided by the FCC. Major carriers have significantly invested in 5G infrastructure within the past year. Verizon has started 5G testing in 11 cities in the US using hundreds of cell sites deployed in various customer locations. AT&T, meanwhile, has announced that they will have 5G services ready for their customers as early as 2018. T-Mobile and Sprint have already announced their plans for 5G, with Sprint having a 5G network ready for commercialization in the year 2020 and T-Mobile promising a 5G network deployment within the next few years.