Wireless industry enterprise customer revenue to surpass consumer revenue on 5G networks

2021/05/12 - C-Band will help deploy a new generation of wireless time sensitive networks (TSN)

Detroit, MI, May 12, 2021 – US wireless carriers’ winning bids of a massive $80+ billion at the recent C-Band spectrum auction were completely necessary, and strategically complementary to their investment in 5G technology like Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) and massive MIMO to generate new revenue streams, and for the first time in wireless, use of this spectrum is predicted to lead to enterprise customer revenue surpassing consumer revenue across the wireless industry. These are just two of the conclusions from the C-Band Report released today by umlaut, a global, full-service, cross-industry, infrastructure and benchmarking specialist providing advisory and fulfilment services to clients in numerous industries all over the world.

“This mid-band spectrum is a tremendous asset that will be a critical part of a strategic, multi-band network deployment strategy,” said Hakan Ekmen, umlaut’s US Managing Director. “As US carriers begin the work to get this valuable spectrum cleared and deployed, we believe that the mobile network operators that can provide consistently low latency, and ultimately availability, will be able to differentiate and win customers in the enterprise space and best monetize their investment in this spectrum.”

Highlights and findings from the C-Band Whitepaper include:

  • The unfolding competitive situation - evolving enterprise and industrial demands – is being shaped first and foremost by spectrum strategy. C-Band will surely play an essential role in enabling services that will address enterprise, industrial wireless use cases.
  • 5G’s unique characteristics – scalable bandwidth, dramatically lower latency and leveraging MEC to move applications and use cases to the network edge, will enable wireless extensions of existing time sensitive network (TSN) applications. The potential for TSN applications over 5G is clearly one of the drivers in the pursuit of private networks and network slicing, and in umlaut’s view, C-Band will be a solid spectrum choice to deploy a new generation of TSN.
  • In the long-term, all three national US wireless providers will benefit from the auction. That being said, competition continues to expand in this industry, from the cable providers serving as MVNOs getting into the wireless game and claiming a major chunk of customer growth, to the potential of Google, Amazon and Apple and others becoming more aggressive in this space. In addition, the industry should be greatly impacted by the fourth US national wireless provider Dish, and their pending 5G deployments beyond buying Sprint’s prepaid business. In addition, the US national providers will also face competition from enterprising companies able to use unlicensed spectrum.
  • With the upcoming FCC auction for the lower end of the C-Band (3.45 – 3.55 GHz) spectrum range, the interest from potential new market entrants could grow to acquire this valuable spectrum and add competition to a very competitive industry. It remains to be seen to what degree new market entrants leveraging unlicensed spectrum could gain momentum and capture some of the US MNOs’ market share and revenue streams.
  • With the initial 5G spectrum strategies for carriers now more or less set, operators must move head long into the fight to achieve operational excellence. With C-Band holding a central position in the new 5G world order, umlaut believes that the next competitive fight on the horizon will be based on latency, and ultimately availability.

“When you combine the fact that C-Band radio units and antennas are both widely available and aggressively being installed now, and that the vast majority of new 5G capable devices support C-Band out of the box, C-Band deployments will be unleashed sooner than many expect,” said Ekmen. “This deployment will provide the carriers with the ability to enhance their 5G networks with massive additional capacity, lower latency and higher sustained speeds.”

The full 2021 C-Band White Paper can be downloaded below.