The fifth generation of mobile networks will be a “revolution” for the wireless industry in the context of creating entirely new revenue streams and a wide variety of business opportunities, Deutsche Telekom Chief Executive Officer Tim Hoettges told Bloomberg during a Sunday interview in Munich, Germany. Much like many of his peers, Mr. Hoettges is primarily optimistic about business-to-business use cases of 5G, naming everything from healthcare to automotive segments as potential major customers of mobile service providers around the world. While wireless carriers have been serving enterprise customers since the day they went into business, 5G will change their roles in virtually every field, allowing them to transform from connectivity enablers to full-fledged partners who aren’t just tasked with delivering an infrastructure but solutions meant to take advantage of it, Mr. Hoettges believes.
The move to 5G hence has the potential to be extremely lucrative for the industry but will also make it more reliant on the performance of its clients, with a significant portion of such new revenue streams being reliant on the sales generated by their jointly developed solutions, DT CEO suggested. The manner in which the industry veteran described that scenario still implies he’s largely expecting to deal with the best kind of problem to have – making the most of a growth trend that’s essentially guaranteed. DT has arguably been leading the 5G push in Europe and already set up some pre-standard antennas, in addition to conducting a broad range of field tests, all with the goal of being ready for commercial deployment in the near future. Its U.S. subsidiary is expected to start rolling out a consumer-ready 5G network next year and have nationwide coverage by 2020.
While enterprises will account for a significant portion of 5G-related revenue the wireless industry is expecting, the rising popularity of Internet of Things devices should also benefit their bottom line, with Mr. Hoettges predicting the average consumer in the West will have half a dozen of Internet-enabled devices two years from now, adding that eSIM cards will also accelerate that trend. Ultimately, both DT and other telecom giants across the globe are eager to conclude their 5G standardization efforts and start deploying commercial networks as investors are getting impatient about seeing some returns on their massive infrastructural investments. Some carriers are seeking to address such concerns with fixed wireless access solutions but the German company hasn’t shown a large interest in that stopgap technology so far.