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Singapore telcos could make up to US$510m from 5G by 2025: report

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Singapore will lead its South-east Asian neighbours in fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology adoption in the next decade, an industry report has said, with telecom operators expected to grow revenues on enterprise business.

SINGAPORE will lead its South-east Asian neighbours in fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology adoption in the next decade, an industry report said, with telecom operators expected to grow revenues on enterprise business.

The annual boost to telco revenues here could be between US$370 million and US$510 million by 2025, according to an AT Kearney report out on Tuesday.

Of that, as much as US$220 million may be from business-to-business or enterprise users, with another US$50 million from firms that use the connectivity as a platform for other consumer or enterprise services. Consumer mobile will make up the rest of the projected turnover in Singapore.

"Given the otherwise widely stagnating revenues of telecom operators both in the region and around the world, this is an astonishing opportunity that operators must make all efforts to capture," noted the report's authors.

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AT Kearney anticipates that 5G could be worth up to US$5.8 billion a year for all of Asean, growing overall consumer revenues by between 6 per cent and 9 per cent and adding another 18 per cent to 22 per cent to operators' enterprise business.

Among South-east Asian markets, Singapore is expected to capture the largest share of its potential value and reach countrywide 5G penetration of 56.9 per cent by 2025 - head and shoulders above the rest, as Malaysia is pegged to hit 39.8 per cent penetration, and Thailand, 33 per cent.

The Republic is also projected to achieve the most positive "win-win" scenario where enterprise businesses are transformed with new technologies and consumers are keen to fork out for faster mobile services with less "lag". But Malaysia and Indonesia will see more competition among operators, with only leading telcos managing to snag value from enterprise customers, the report suggested.

The rest of Asean, meanwhile, is likely to continue with the status quo on a selective network rollout, as businesses balk at paying premiums for 5G.

A separate poll by hardware vendor Ericsson, which focused on the consumer market, had earlier found that Singaporean mobile users expect to pay 52 per cent more for 5G than they do now.

Still, Naveen Menon, regional president for technology provider Cisco - which commissioned the latest report - told a briefing on Tuesday morning that in the enterprise space, "the overall package price will look very different to, say, a pure consumer offer" as operators are expected to bundle industry solutions with services and software subscriptions.

"These are avenues that operators don’t typically have right now on the enterprise side," he said. "It's a much different price point and commercial model."

Mr Menon added in a press statement: "Enterprises are looking to leverage the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is underpinned by artificial intelligence, (the Internet of Things), 3D printing, advanced robotics and wearables, to boost growth.

"The successful adoption of these technologies is largely dependent on the underlying connectivity. This provides a huge opportunity for telecom operators to increase their presence in the enterprise market and sustain their long-term growth."

Singapore regulators plan to start rolling out 5G network next year, although islandwide coverage is thought to be possible only from 2023 at the earliest, based on spectrum availability.