Indian enterprises have high expectations of 5G

Indian enterprises across verticals – manufacturing, energy and utilities, banking and financial services, transportation and logistics, healthcare, sports and entertainment, and retail industries – are undergoing unprecedented digital transformation. They are investing in modernizing their legacy systems and investing in new technologies and applications which they believe will be key to driving innovation and growth. For instance, like many of their global counterparts, Indian manufacturing companies are making significant investments in automation technologies and tools for smarter, swifter, and safer production. Similarly, big Indian hospitals are planning to invest in mixed reality AR/VR applications for improving patient care.

5G as a key enabler of digital transformation

5G is what most Indian enterprises think will be the key enabler of their digital transformation – they believe 5G will accelerate digital transformation and have a major impact on their business processes and goals. This is what we discovered in recent research conducted by Omdia for Ericsson in India.

Even though India is still months away from the availability of commercial 5G services, Indian enterprises view 5G as the most important digital technology. As we found in the Omdia survey, 32% of respondent organizations ranked 5G as the most important technology for their digital strategy over the next two years. They ranked 5G ahead of other technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud services, and robotic process automation. 56% ranked 5G in their top three technologies.

It is noteworthy that many enterprises cite the limitations of current wireless and other network technologies as a key barrier to improving efficiency through automation and digital transformation.

Omdia surveyed over 300 enterprises early this year in India across five industries—manufacturing, energy and utilities, transportation and logistics, sports and entertainment, and healthcare— to understand enterprise perception of 5G and their plans to use the same.

Indian enterprises want business outcomes from 5G

While Indian enterprises consider reduced reliance on fixed-line infrastructure and improved and reliable network connectivity as the top benefit of 5G, they see a wide range of other potential benefits with significant business outcomes. Accelerating process automation and delivering real time data insights for faster decision making are seen as other two top benefits of 5G. The Omdia survey found that vast majority of enterprises see 5G having a major or moderate impact on all major business processes and goals. Indian enterprises expect 5G to enable new technologies and new ways of working, and even change their organization’s established business model. Many enterprises believe 5G will help improve productivity, drive revenue growth, improve sales & marketing processes, enable automation, and enhance security and customer service.

Enterprises are interested in a wide range of use cases

More than 90% of enterprises surveyed stated they are very likely or likely to deploy multiple 5G use cases over the next two to three years. These include use cases like remote assistance, support or training of people, video recognition and analytics, automation including robotic process automation, remote control of machines, robots, vehicles, or drones, and enhanced streaming. There are vertical-specific variations in the interest in 5G use cases – for instance, enterprises in the manufacturing sector are keener on use cases like remote assistance and remote control of machines while entertainment companies prefer enhanced streaming.

Indian enterprises consider Private 5G as the most relevant service

Even though the Indian market in still in an early stage of development, Private Networks appear to be gaining good traction among Indian enterprises. As we found in the Omdia survey, more than 50% of the respondent companies viewed private 5G as the most relevant service. This was followed by 5G network slicing, public 5G and 5G edge computing. It’s important to highlight here that a significant number of enterprises view public 5G as a relevant service for employees on the move.

When will Indian enterprises start using 5G?

Most Indian enterprises appear to be keen to use 5G within months of its launch in India. As the Omdia survey suggests, most companies in India plan to start using some type of 5G service by the end of 2023. More than 90% of enterprises are very likely or likely to deploy 5G-enabled use cases like remote assistance, support or training of people, video recognition and analytics, automation including robotic process automation, remote control of machines, robots, vehicles, or drones, enhanced streaming including live events and gaming by 2024-25.

So, what does all this mean for Indian mobile operators? Our research shows that Indian enterprises have a very positive opinion of 5G. However, they are also clear that 5G is not just another network connectivity technology but also an enabler of digital and business transformation. This essentially means operators will have to take a solution-centric approach aligned with the business goals of the enterprises. Simply delivering 5G connectivity to enterprises will not be enough. As an Ericsson-Arthur D Little study showed, 5G will enable Indian operators to earn up to 17 billion USD in incremental revenue from enterprises by 2030 – a big part of which will come from service enablement, and application and service provisioning.

Figure 1 : 5G is overwhelmingly seen as the most important technology for enterprise digital strategies, followed by AI/ML and cloud services

New Technology Era

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