Research: 1000 decision makers reveal biggest 5G drivers for enterprise

There have been vibrant discussions within the telecom industry about potential 5G applications for enterprises. But exactly how familiar are business IT decision-makers with 5G, and where are they with their plans for deployment? There are heartening answers.  All of the key benefits of 5G – increased reliability, higher throughput, low latency, and the ability to support many devices – were rated as appealing by more than 90% of respondents, painting a picture of a highly desirable


5G has always been about much more than faster mobile connectivity for consumer devices. Its high capacity and ultra-low latency are also key enablers of business transformation – paving the way for wider use of the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as remote, automated and autonomous operations. Communications service providers (CSPs) who adopt intelligent strategies to target the enterprise market stand to reap the rewards. But with so many possible use cases, and so many sectors looking to adopt 5G, where should CSPs focus their efforts?

To answer that question, Nokia surveyed over 1,000 IT decision-makers, covering key enterprise segments including energy, manufacturing, government/public safety, and automotive/transportation.

5 things enterprise decision makers told us about 5G

1. They’re familiar with 5G and many are using it, but more education is still needed

The majority (65%) of IT decision-makers are familiar with 5G. One-third (34%) are already using 5G and almost all are highly satisfied with its speed, capacity, and responsiveness. In many cases, CSPs  positioning 5G-enabled services will be pushing on an open door. A large minority (30%), however, said they need more information about what 5G can do for their organization before starting to plan. This lack of information is the second biggest barrier to adoption after lack of 5G coverage.

2. 47% are making plans to deploy 5G

Not only are IT professionals familiar with 5G, nearly half the decision-makers we surveyed said their organizations are planning for 5G now. Increased coverage combined with industry “buzz” from 5G-enabled products have sparked their imagination. A shift to remote and automated working prompted by COVID-19 is likely to increase interest.

3. Video monitoring is the most appealing use case

Of the five use cases we tested, IT professionals rated video most appealing, with 48% citing 5G-enhanced video monitoring as a near-term (0-4 years) opportunity. Most are already using video for monitoring, and can easily imagine how 5G can bring together higher quality streaming and advanced video analytics to enable real-time detection of faces, objects, risks and incidents. FWA is the top use case among small and medium-sized businesses, 73% of whom show a strong interest if cost and performance can match their existing wired broadband service.

4. Energy and manufacturing are leading the way

Energy and manufacturing firms are most interested in 5G, and are exploring its potential for advanced use cases including drone-based video surveillance, remote machine control, and cloud robotics. The impact of COVID-19 may be felt here and in other industries, as companies accelerate the transition to remote and automated operations.

5. CSPs have an opportunity to become trusted advisers

Most respondents said they would look to a mobile operator for guidance as they draw up their 5G deployment plan, which is good news for CSPs looking to diversify beyond connectivity into industry services. Systems integrators also scored highly on this question, though, so CSPs will remain challenged. Acquiring industry expertise and insight, and developing an ecosystem of partners will help CSPs better compete and win.

The COVID-19 pandemic started as operators around the world were ramping up 5G network rollouts, exploring new use cases and business models, particularly for enterprises. With survey respondents revealing that 61% of businesses would look to a mobile operator for direction when planning 5G services, CSPs have an opportunity to position themselves with those enterprises who are looking for 5G expertise during these uncertain times.

Overall the survey reveals significant near-term and medium-term opportunities for CSPs keen to move into the industry space and offer higher-value services that leverage 5G’s unique features. The clear call to action for CSPs is now to invest in vertical expertise and guide their enterprise customers with more 5G education.

To read more about the findings, visit Mapping demand: The 5G opportunity in enterprise for communications service providers 

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This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.