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5G promises new and innovative capabilities that bring marked improvements to enterprises. Apart from being the improved version of preceding mobile communication technology, 5G enables new applications across enterprise sectors, taking IoT and industrial applications to unprecedented levels. These new capacities allow enterprises to create new digital services, new business opportunities and viable monetization models to raise their overall competitive edge in a fast-evolving business landscape.

A report by IDC outlined that 5G enterprise services in the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, were valued at $1 billion in 2021, and are expected to reach $8 billion by 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 137%.

Even though consumer 5G has been the emphasis, telcos are aware that they must embrace enterprise 5G, as its use cases will exceed those of consumers in the very near future. With this knowledge, telcos are well-positioned to cash in on rising enterprise opportunities.

While 5G is still in the early stages of development in most parts of Asia, it is creating buzz as a long-term investment, introducing speeds that are up to 100 times greater compared to those of the predominant 4G.

According to Research and Markets, the notable research repository, 5G enterprise in the Asia Pacific is driven by intelligence and automation that taps into artificial intelligence (AI) to address behaviors, needs and preferences. With these solutions, enterprises can expect improved operations and differentiated customer experiences.

To capture the full enterprise potential, telcos are challenged to build new capabilities to support enterprise customers in new use cases. To do this, they will need to leverage partnerships with application providers and ICT vendors to co-create viable solutions for industries.

In India, where 5G is currently taking flight, Airtel recently announced a partnership with Tech Mahindra to deploy 5G private networks at Mahindra & Mahindra’s Chakan facility, India’s first 5G-enabled auto manufacturing unit. Even though 5G services were officially launched late last year, their impact is quickly growing. According to the GSMA, 5G is forecast to account for $455 billion of the country’s economy between 2023 and 2040.

Similarly, Axiata has inked an agreement with Tech Mahindra to develop and commercialize 5G enterprise in countries including Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

In the Philippines, PLDT and Cisco are building a 5G standalone (SA) service platform that will drive both enterprise and consumer 5G in the country. The platform will leverage private 5G SA service architecture — a service-based, customizable end-to-end network — to help enterprises develop myriad digital use cases across verticals.

Major telcos, including Singtel and Starhub, also aim to transform enterprises with 5G. In Singapore, Singtel led the way in launching an all-in-one 5G MEC and cloud orchestration platform. Through a partnership with Intel, Singtel’s Paragon platform will enable enterprises to adopt 5G seamlessly and deploy applications at the edge to drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation.

While Malaysia’s 5G journey had not been without some obstacles previously, 5G deployment is now on track. A study commissioned by Ericsson revealed that out of 15  countries, Malaysia will be a significant beneficiary of 5G deployment. As a result, its GDP is forecast to grow incrementally but steadily faster than other emerging economies.

In 2022, Maxis formed a 5G alliance to drive 5G technology and IoT enterprise solutions in an effort to create and commercialize 5G use cases. The goal of this formation is to advance digital transformation efforts and raise the tech competitiveness of Malaysia in the region.

Indonesia, a fast-growing economy in the region, offers immense potential for 5G enterprise. To capture this growth, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson (IOH), for instance, has partnered with IBM in late 2022 to develop a 5G enterprise industry solutions platform. With this partnership, IOH will contribute much-needed infrastructure, while IBM delivers its cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and security capabilities. The key is offering enterprise customers go-to-market 5G solutions.

Essentially, the ability to capture value in 5G enterprise depends on the country’s level of ICT maturity as well as the telco’s capabilities to capture new markets and growth opportunities. For 5G enterprise to fully take off and for telcos to successfully monetize enterprise 5G services, industry alliances are key to growing new collaborations and fostering the exchange of expertise. By doing so, industry stakeholders can benefit from cross-fertilization. Needless to say, a sound regulatory framework and spectrum management are also fundamental.

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