5G is coming – How are Telcos Leveraging Data Analytics to Maximize the Impact?

5G is expected to hit the market by 2020. By 2021, the number of 5G connections could reach anywhere between 20 million and 100 million. Some estimates even put the figure at 200 million connections. The spending on 5G mobile infrastructure  is forecast close in at $ 2.3 billion. Other reports suggest that 5G will serve 40% of the globe by 2024, with 224 operators investing in 5G mobile or 5G fixed wireless broadband networks.

These statistics paint a clear picture of the imminent technology overhaul in the telecom world. With low latency, higher availability, and enormous capacity, 5G is set to transform the telecommunication industry.

But such major change is never without its fair share of hiccups. While telcos are making major investments in infrastructure, they are also keen to roll-out strategies that will allow them to make the most of the coming transformation.

One of the ways the telcos are gearing up for this massive shift is by leveraging the power of data analytics. Here are some considerations they must factor into their strategy to leverage data analytics to maximize the impact of the 5G transformation.

Bandwidths in 5G will be exceptionally fast (5G technology is expected to deliver speeds of up to 2.5 GB/s). At the operational level, while telcos will need to manage this steady flow of fast data traffic the real value will be how this bandwidth will open up avenues for service quality improvements. The fat bandwidth will allow much larger volumes of data to flow to and from various devices. Telcos can leverage this data using analytics in multiple areas such as – fixing performance issues and detecting the quality of services in the network. Simply by identifying the issues, they will be able to resolve them at the earliest. Proactive actions will help them match up to the expectations of their subscribers who will have gotten used to speedier-everything!

As a predictive analytics-driven extension to this, data analytics can also be used by telcos to sense for likely network issues. This will allow them to proactively make adjustments to the network traffic in real-time or put in place other measures to address such performance-related issues. They could also relay messages to the customers who may be impacted and give prior warning.

The key is to detect faults quickly and to notify the customers or resolve issues. This will reduce customer churn greatly and help save costs. In fact, 2 out of 3 (67 percent) operators are using analytics to improve their core services to ensure efficient deployment and roll out of 5G.

Telcos can also use the speedy network to come up with real-time service upgrades for their customers. Analytics can help them zero in on cross-selling and upselling opportunities by defining the right package to offer to the right customer. The 5G network will allow this package to be offered in real-time and for the service upgrade to take place immediately. This can be handy not just to provide exceptional customer service but also to increase revenue per user.

The magic of 5G will make several value-added offerings practical. For instance, Augmented Reality becomes achievable. As does a slew of video-driven offerings. And a range of other product and service bundles. Analytics can help telcos target these offerings at the audience that may be better predisposed to consume them. By mining the customer data and buying behavior, analytics engines can help telcos drive better-targeted campaigns with messaging that resonates. Analytics can also help these telcos come up with appropriate pricing plans and service bundles.   

Among the great expectations from 5G is its promise to transform several facets of everyday life. Healthcare stands to benefit from the growing practicality of wearables and the improved practice of Remote Patient Monitoring and Telehealth. Education could become boundaryless and freely available. Near sci-fi technologies like autonomous vehicles could become ubiquitous. Energy management, smart cities, smart buildings, and a host of other areas are depending on 5G opening up tomorrow for them. For telcos, the data that could be thrown up by all these applications has the potential to deliver tremendous insights. Those insights can help telcos create new and transformative revenue models that depend on analytics. There is still some time before the 5G wave hits the market. In preparation, telcos need to gear up for the big change. The preparation is not just about putting the physical infrastructure in place. It should be about creating strategies that allow the telecom operator to gain maximum benefit from the 5G-enabled world of tomorrow.