With 5G, Partnerships Take a Different Form

February 23, 2021 - Frank Healy

Frank Healy, Senior Product Marketing Manager, discusses how 5G is moving to a new phase in 2021. Partner-driven services will move to centre stage

When Hyundai announced in January that it was “partnering” with Apple it saw its share price increase significantly – only to see it fall again weeks later when it back-tracked on any tie up with Apple. Credibility, it seems, only lasts a short time these days, even for the largest of companies. When partnerships are announced, especially in industries under the spotlight – such as the auto industry – they need to be done with caution.

And this could be a problem in 5G. The traditional long–drawn out partnering models of getting to know you, courtship and then happy ever after won’t work in 5G. They need to be much faster, more dynamic and the partnerships may be designed to last a short time. And there will be lots of partners for 5G service providers – a lot more as companies are looking to 5G as a route to market for their goods and services.

In part this is due to early 5G announcements and expectations of greater flexibility for partnership potential that would be made available across 5G networks. For service providers on the other hand there is continued uncertainty around which services will be the “killer apps”. All of this points to a need, like never before for an openness to spontaneous service experimentation.

Take for example a hospital that needs to scale up on specialist equipment such as critical monitors that need to be loaded with the latest specialist software (cloud-based of course) and connected via an ultra-reliable network slice to a centralized healthcare hub. There may be multiple partners needed in this service chain. If a distributed medical facility (or its capacity demand) is temporary it might only be needed for a few days or weeks. During that time, some elements, such as night-time reporting may only need to scale up intermittently. Similarly, a sponsor-led content partnership delivered via the latest augmented reality devices for multi-angle viewing at a concert venue may only need to be live for a few hours. Those few hours could however be extremely valuable and even reach way beyond the venue itself. With the flexibility of 5G, more and more of such partnership-led services can be set up, tested and adjusted overnight.

The good news is that as some of the key elements of 5G are becoming bedded in, the openness of that infrastructure (or rather cloud-based software) is indeed becoming available to consumers and partners. The better news for the investment community is that they can focus on service providers as the ecosystem enablers and focal-points for this partnership capability.

5G’s increased openness provides further advantages. Newly available and more powerful functions such as the Network Exposure Function (NEF) also allow service providers to become their own best customers. This function controls and exposes more diverse value than ever before from newly available 5G assets. The promised improvements in latency, speed, coverage, capacity and density available from 5G are available for bundling, more flexibly than ever, via the service provider itself. Or they can be bundled further with the help of the massively expanded ecosystem of partners that also now have access. Of course service providers will be sitting at the centre of massive amounts of data from this new ecosystem. That data will need to be handled with an intensity never seen before.

The proof of the pudding will increasingly be in the more rapidly available services that speak for themselves and not more bungled press announcements.


For more information on Openet’s Policy Controller for 5G and its position within the Amdocs Value Plane, visit www.openet/policy.

For more information on Openet Data Fabric visit www.openet/data.


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