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Straight Talk Service Provider

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What is the biggest 5G B2B opportunity in 2020? Beneath the attractive media veneer of vendor-led network launch announcements, trials, alliances, and beneficial partnerships lies an uncomfortable truth: monetization is not yet happening in a clearly understood pattern, nor with an absolute certainty of recouping communications service providers' (CSPs) prodigious investments.

Perhaps it's smarter for CSPs to be opportunistic in the short term. Instead of muscling into complex multiparty private network deals involving large enterprises, service providers might explore a quicker win: selling public 5G network-based propositions to smaller enterprises.

99% of enterprises are overlooked

Microenterprises and SMEs are arguably the most overlooked market actors in the emerging 5G world. But they represent 99% of the world's businesses and could become the frontline of 5G adoption and revenue generation in 2020.

That's because without onerous contracts or technical complexities to slow them down, it is easier and faster for such firms to switch to 5G – if the offer is right. What is certain is that their demand for bandwidth is growing: 42% plan to increase expenditure on mobile broadband, according to Ovum's 2018/19 SoHo and SME Insights Survey which polled smaller firms across the world.

Outcomes matter more

But latency and bandwidth alone won't drive 5G migration. For these B2B buyers, delivering tangible business outcomes is key. This means that CSPs must also bundle 5G with services that improve smaller businesses' most common working contexts: beyond offices to homes, cafes, construction sites, stores, salons, and on the move. CSPs will have to consider how 5G might improve SoHo and SME productivity, sales, and marketing outreach, while also helping them secure and analyze their rising volumes of digitized intelligence. This prospect might not be as sexy as transforming a port or factory or stadium with 5G, but it might just pay the bills.

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