Why the emerging 5G network slicing market will reach $20bn

Enterprise decision-makers are seeking to identify the best deployment models for a trial private cellular wireless network initiative. Many of the CIOs and CTOs at progressive companies and forward-looking public sector agencies are already defining requirements for fifth-generation (5G) infrastructure investments.

With 5G deployments proliferating, the importance of network slicing for the enterprise domain is set to grow. According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, the demand for 5G slicing will be propelled primarily by heavy industry verticals.

Industrial manufacturing, cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X), and logistics alone will potentially generate cumulative revenues of $12 billion by 2026, representing a significant portion of an overall 5G slicing market that will likely exceed the $20 billion mark.

5G network slicing market development

Much of the upside growth discussion at present focuses on how various industry verticals can alleviate the operational complexity of doing business with 5G Network Slicing.

“This research highlights the importance of 5G Slicing as an enabler for new value creation, particularly as communications service providers (CSPs) bolster their capabilities to go beyond connectivity revenues,” said Don Alusha, senior analyst at ABI Research.

The discourse in a post-Covid-19 pandemic environment will be to accelerate edge computing deployments to further develop low-latency use cases, extend 5G coverage, and reach industry consensus on how smartphone handsets and other devices can support 5G slicing.

Further, the telecom industry at large now realises that to extract the value at stake, there is a need to enhance the traditional way of doing business and clearly articulate business drivers and commercial utility of slicing to vertical partners.

There are three predominant business drivers for 5G slicing. One, new services can be deployed with little or no disruption to existing services. With today’s networks, service agility is a challenge because the introduction of new services necessitates reconfiguration of underlying networks.

Two, verticals can optimise network efficiency with potentially lower costs. A shared network infrastructure used across multiple slices promotes better resource utilisation and can, in theory, reduces integration scope and complexity.

Three, 5G slicing enables vertical partners to bring to market a wider range of services based on customised service level agreements (SLAs).

According to the ABI assessment, it will take time for a mature, 5G slice-ready ecosystem to emerge. With the global economy rebounding from the current climate with COVID-exit strategies, it is very likely that new investments advance existing proof of concepts (PoCs) and trials to commercial deployments.

Ultimately, wholesale deployment of public networks (5G slicing) for private use requires more vertical engagement. To that end, the telecom sector should realign existing commercial arrangements to include strategic vertical industry partners.

Outlook for 5G network slicing applications growth

5G slicing serves as an enabler towards that change, but first, the incumbents should aim to extend trust and build relationships with value-added vertical partners. That will better address end verticals’ pain points, and identify mutually beneficial arrangements for both telecom and key industry partners.

“Lastly, reaping full benefits from 5G network slicing is a long-haul endeavour that will need to start small with same-vendor, campus type deployments. Multi-vendor implementations will materialise with further industry alignments on terminal support, business model, and collaboration among system integrators, vendors, and CSPs,” Alusha concludes.

Conclusion

I believe that the upside potential for net-new revenue growth will require telecom service providers to enhance their pre-sales professional service offerings. Potential customers for private 5G network deployments seek information and guidance from qualified and trusted advisors. It’s a huge opportunity.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this? Attend the co-located 5G ExpoIoT Tech ExpoBlockchain ExpoAI & Big Data Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam.

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