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Expect big things from 5G micro operators

Twitter: @RiittaSiira

In my last blog I described how Finland’s Oulu hospital aims to become the world’s first ‘5G hospital’.

That led me to think about how other organizations or establishments might use 5G technology in their own focused ways to become micro operators. The micro operator business model is emerging from the growing number of property owners using local networks to provide specific, localized services to public buildings, shopping malls or industrial sites, and yes, hospitals.

The services involved may be so specific or limited to a certain location that a mobile network operator finds it difficult or even impossible to offer them. Entering the vertical space requires deep business knowledge.

In a recent study entitled "Micro operators business models in 5G" Petri Ahokangas, senior research fellow of Oulu University, pointed out that facility owners have three factors working in their favor. Firstly, micro operators have a local ‘monopoly’ on their venues and can control any access by outside service providers. Secondly, they know best the local services required in that venue, better than any service provider would. Thirdly, they need connectivity to connect to the outside world.

A shopping mall micro operator could offer free connectivity to all visitors. New revenue streams could come from offering targeted marketing services to brand and shop owners, who can provide value added services and timely, highly targeted promotions. For traditional telco operators, this would mean providing overall connectivity.

More than just connectivity

Yet for telco service providers, the micro operator opportunity doesn’t end there. The reason? 5G, which, with its new architecture, offers network slicing that enables service providers to offer different venues exactly the services they need.

Watch how 5G technical concepts can be turned into real business:

Service providers and property owners could team up to gain access to new revenue streams by providing customers with valued, relevant services. Service providers could provide property owners with Network as a Service (NaaS), perhaps even providing related ecosystems with a complete end-to-end, plug-and-play platform and interface for micro operators.

Another option is to provide insights on visitors’ habits to support new, value added services. The telco operator could connect the micro-operator to third party content services and provide internet backbone, connectivity and roaming.

Destination 5G – your journey starts today

The possibilities of 5G seem endless and that’s before we even start to roll out the infrastructure and first services. This will happen very quickly and that’s why we all need to be thinking today about the its future uses. Only then can we determine what technology we will need for each use case, as well as the operational models to implement it. For example, network slicing will require a transformation to the telco cloud, cloud RAN and a programmable transport infrastructure. Many IoT cases can be done with today’s technologies and enhanced with possibilities enabled by 5G. With 50 billion things soon to be connected, automation and Predictive Services Optimization and Care become very relevant. Densification of small cells is inevitable and Services for HetNets are supporting multi-layered, multi-technology and even multi-vendor deployments. Business, technology and operations – all need to be prepared for 5G and the journey can start today.

Picture 4 Nokia Turning_5G_technical_concepts

Let’s turn 5G concepts into real business

To help turn 5G technical concepts into real business Nokia has developed a systematic approach and methodology that includes:


Executive summary: Services for 5GWebsite: 5GWebsite: Services for 5G

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Riitta Siira

About Riitta Siira

Riitta is responsible for Nokia's 5G Services and strategic projects. She’s fascinated by the 5G world of opportunities and wants a front row seat when the first use cases are live. Her multiple devices and apps keep her connected with family and friends, and she loves to express herself through her blogs. Tweet me @RiittaSiira

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