Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:

  • 5G is “open for business” and on its way to enable technologies such as radio access, network slicing, and machine intelligence, Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm said at Mobile World Congress.
  • With 5G, service providers will need to succeed in efficiency, digital experience, and creating new revenue streams based on 5G and Internet of Things use cases.

5G is already on its way to commercial success, as Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm declared the technology “open for business” during a media briefing at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Monday.

Ekholm highlighted Ericsson’s plans for 5G business use cases, as well as the technologies it will enable, including radio access, network slicing, and machine intelligence.

“We will focus not only on why and what, but also on how,” Ekholm said in the briefing, according to a press release. “This is what our customers – the service providers – want to discuss.”

It’s clear that 5G will be a major theme at this year’s MWC. Last week, Vodafone and Huawei announced that they had completed the world’s first 5G call using the non-standalone 3GPP 5G new radio standard and sub-6 GHz spectrum.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

The US has much to gain from 5G technologies: Investing in and building a 5G network will generate $533 billion in US gross domestic product (GDP) and $1.2 trillion in long-run consumer benefits from these broadband wireless services, according to a recent report from the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research. However, this payout will only be possible if service providers make massive upgrades to current mobile service infrastructure, which require state and local governments to take steps to streamline regulations and encourage deployment, the report noted.

If the infrastructure is properly built out, 5G is poised to revolutionize many industries, including mission-critical services and education.

Mobile broadband will be the first large-scale global use case for 5G, Ekholm said, based on rapidly-growing data traffic and the need for an improved user experience. A site that is fully equipped with 4G and 5G capacity will be able to deliver mobile data at one-tenth of the cost of a basic 4G site today.

When it comes to 5G, service providers will need to succeed in three key areas, Ekholm said: Efficiency (bringing the cost per gigabyte down), digital experience (improving customer experience and cost reduction), and creating new revenue streams (based on 5G and Internet of Things [IoT] use cases).

The technology is now moving into the commercial phase, Ekholm said. Ericsson has signed 38 memorandums of understanding with service providers for trials, as well as several commercial contracts with deliveries set for the end of this year, he added.

Companies that get an early jump on 5G adoption will likely see benefits in terms of customer experience and revenue, according to Telstra CEO Andy Penn, who joined Ekholm during the talk.

4G early adopters saw increased yearly revenue growth and market share, Ekholm noted. “We don’t know which use cases will ultimately be the most important for 5G, but we know that early adopters tend to get a sustainable advantage.” he added.

When a business network is ready for 5G, service providers can choose the time to turn on 5G traffic, Ekholm said.

“Last year we broke speed records in tests, opened a 5G design center in Austin, Texas, and introduced new radio products for Massive MIMO and network services that ease the 5G journey,” Ekholm said. “Just this year, we completed our 5G platform, which comprises the 5G core, radio and transport portfolios, together with OSS, BSS, network services and security. We added 5G commercial software for radio and core networks to enable operators to launch 5G already from Q4 2018.”