5G Opens Doors to New Vertical Markets

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In a recent blog, Qvantel’s CDO, Ruben Lopez wrote about how the aspirations of service providers have become more ambitious with the majority wanting to become full digital service providers selling a variety of end-to-end services. Ruben also wrote that he’d led several digital transformation projects where the service provider is now a fully digital company providing everything from education services to entertainment to healthcare.

5G is now taking this transformation to a new level. It’s enabling service providers to develop specific offers for different vertical markets as well as opening up new B2B2X opportunities and revenue streams. In the latest Qvantel and Nokia white paper, we look at 5 vertical markets that service providers are currently active in and discuss 10 real-life use cases. These are:

Smart Cities: There are many uses of 5G that can contribute to smart cities and ensure that cities are greener, more efficient, safer and a better place to live and work for their inhabitants. In Spain there is the 5G Connected Smart Tunnel for Assisted Driving. This is a partnership between Telefónica and CTAG (Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia) which has implemented sensors and provided 5G coverage to the Cereixal tunnel on the A-6 road to provide the first smart tunnel in Spain. Another smart city use case are the Smart City Poles in Leuven, Belgium. The poles can accommodate a 5G network which can support a wide range of uses including safety drones, mobile cameras, environmental sensors and footfall analysis to help with logistics, city planning as well as managing public transport.

Industry 4.0: Technological advancement, increased importance of environmental sustainability and the impact of the Covid pandemic across all industries have seen a rapid growth in the adoption of smart technologies and seamless networks. Volkswagen is using 5G to transform their automotive manufacturing and design sites into smart factories. Also, Lufthansa is advancing Airport 4.0 and Lufthansa Technik has turned a 5G networking pilot into a new mode of operation during the pandemic, providing virtual inspections of engine parts over fast, ultra-high-definition video links.

Telehealth / Healthcare: It’s no surprise that since Covid the growth of Telehealth services has increased dramatically. This increased usage, plus the advent of 5G networks (which vastly expands telemedicine use cases beyond video consultations), are contributing to a strong forecast for this sector and service providers are now getting involved in this market. In Australia, Telstra has set up a separate company, Telstra Health, which offers a wide range of digital health care services and works with many partners to deliver a connected digital health service. They also developed a Digital Hospital Platform called Kyra, which they describe as ‘where patients, clinicians and technology connect’.

Other service providers are working with hospitals to provide private 5G networks to deliver connected hospitals. Virgin Media O2 and the National Health Service announced in July 2022 that they have created the UK’s first 5G connected hospital. Wards at Bethlem Royal Hospital in South London are now using dedicated, near-real-time connectivity to power e-Observations, where clinicians use handheld devices to update patient records, saving valuable time and improving accuracy. Other use cases in the connected hospital include connected smart devices and smart monitoring (Internet of Things) which can track and monitor medicine fridges and air quality in wards, as well as monitoring occupancy of rooms and decks. In addition, using augmented reality, staff in multiple locations can wear 5G connected headsets to work together and share expertise.

Connected Vehicles: Driverless cars, enabled by 5G networks are being trialled by several CSPs and car manufacturers. Volkswagen is using 5G to provide networked control for a driverless transportation system that it’s developing in collaboration with Porsche, Audi and the Dresden University of Technology. The sensors in the driverless transportation system transmit the environmental data to the cloud using 5G. This calculates the route for the car and route information is sent back real-time to the car. In addition, Deutsche Telekom, BMW and Valeo conducted tests for autonomous valet parking using the German operator’s public 5G network. In the test a car was left at a parking garage and was autonomously driven to the next free parking space.

Entertainment: The telecoms industry has come a long way at enabling and providing entertainment since offering Netflix and Spotify as part of 4G bundles. AR and VR equipment, supported by fast 5G networks can now make entertainment much more personalised and immersive for customers. Stadium companies are working with service providers to use 5G to deliver an immersive fan experience at sporting events. In June 2022 mobile operator Elisa and Nokia set a world record for 5G uplink speeds with 2.1 Gbps at the Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland. These new levels of 5G speeds will open the door for better stadium experiences for fans and new revenue opportunities for stadiums and CSPs. These include at-venue data services such as real-time multi-user 8K ultra-high-definition video streaming and AR (augmented reality) content for smartphones or wearable devices for immersive experiences.

As well as live sports, service providers are also tapping into the vast potential of esports. Special gaming events like eSports tournaments can give service providers and their partners the opportunities to generate recurring revenue streams that go beyond the one-time sale of the latest game. As well as enabling eSports events, CSPs are also aware of the value of watching eSports as entertainment for fans. SK Telecom provides a range of 5G AR and VR services to offer a more realistic and immersive experience when watching eSports games.

The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg. We have seen many service providers set up new companies to offer tech services, enterprise services, content services, healthcare, financial services and so on. For companies with existing multi-million customer bases who enjoy an on-going financial relationship (through payment of bills, subscriptions and pre-payments) this represents a massive upsell opportunity. Entering new 5G verticals to sell new services and support new use cases will involve many new ways of doing business for service providers. This will require significant change to monetisation and BSS systems and processes. Service providers will need new levels of agility as they enter this latest stage in the evolution and transformation of the telecoms industry.


Tero Nieminen
VP Partnerships, Qvantel


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