Telcos primed to cash in on Singapore’s 5G lead

The rollout of 5G services could boost annual revenues of Singapore telecom operators by as much as $510 million by 2025, according to a new study commissioned by Cisco.

The study, conducted by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, states that Singapore will lead the region in launching 5G as early as 2020.

Initial growth of 5G adoption is expected to come from high-value customers and high-value devices, and subscriptions will start to scale as devices become more affordable.

As a result, the study expects 5G penetration to be around 25% to 40% in major countries in the region by 2025, with Singapore seeing more than 50% penetration. The total number of 5G subscriptions in ASEAN is forecast to exceed 200 million in 2025.

“The usage of cellular data is growing rapidly as users consume increasing amount of services and content on their personal devices,” said Naveen Menon, president for ASEAN at Cisco.

“At the same time, enterprises are looking to leverage the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is underpinned by Artificial Intelligence, IoT, 3D Printing, Advanced Robotics and Wearables, to boost growth,” said Menon. “The successful adoption of these technologies is largely dependent on the underlying connectivity.”

As telecom operators get ready to roll out 5G services, they are likely to invest about $10 billion into the region’s 5G infrastructure by 2025.

The study highlights that to unlock 5G’s potential, the region needs to address some key challenges.

Foremost among these is the slow availability of spectrum for 5G services and the resulting suboptimal network rollout.

In addition, operators will need to carefully construct their 5G product and pricing portfolios and migrate consumers to the high-speed network.

On the enterprise side, operators will need to build new capabilities and bundle enhanced connectivity with solutions and applications to help customers understand, implement, and scale up value-enhancing use cases. They will also have to contend with a new set of competitors that provide private networks to enterprises.