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Operators and service providers should look to evolve their offerings and the role they play to meet a new set of enterprise demands

Advanced Wireless Survey 2021, Australian edition

Deloitte’s recent study into advanced wireless networks explores enterprise adoption rates of 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and other related technologies across nine countries. In this second blog article, we explore the considerations for Australian operators and services providers. To understand how Australian network decision makers are responding and the key considerations for enterprise as investment ramps up, read our first blog.

CEOs along with CIOs are key decision makers; operators, vendors and staff are key influencers in enterprise wireless investments

Within the organisations surveyed, IT executives and practitioners lead the charge to adopt advanced wireless, with the CIO and CEO being cited as the primary decision-makers. IT staff (51%), followed by technology vendors (41%), are the most influential in guiding companies' advanced connectivity choices globally. However, in Australia, telco operators (43%) outmatch technology vendors (27%) when it comes to influencing technology decisions, while the influence of IT staff is consistent with the global picture (47%). CIOs and CEOs identify the ability to transform their businesses as a key focus for the implementation of wireless technologies, which means operators and service providers should look to position advanced wireless offerings around the transformation agenda of the enterprise.

Operators, vendors and system integrators need to consider security, interoperability and cost, alongside organisations' cloud strategies and enterprise technology maturity 

As operators, vendors and system integrators evolve their advanced wireless offerings we expect to see security, interoperability of technology and cost emerge as the primary considerations for organisations when looking to invest in wireless technologies. In addition, most enterprises see new wireless technologies as extremely important to enabling their cloud, analytics, IoT and edge computing strategies, which means solutions should be considered alongside other complementary offers from hyperscalers, device manufacturers and security providers.  

Australian enterprises are most likely to choose a public slice of 5G networks or a combination of private and public networks, while licencing or sharing spectrum are the preferred method for access

Australian respondents, as compared to their global peers, are most likely to choose to have a public slice (35%) or a combination of public and private network (35%) rather than a private network (22%). When it comes to taking a slice of a public 5G network, Australian respondents were most concerned with the ability to achieve latency or device density requirements (39%) and addressing security issues (37%), with cost and control being lower concerns. Respondents would prefer to licence spectrum from another company rather than the government or a regulatory body. With respect to accessing spectrum, the survey provides some interesting insight into enterprise preferences. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents aren’t having any issues in acquiring it in their preferred way, 27% of respondents are having to use multiple methods to obtain the amount required, and 20% of respondents said sharing spectrum would be of interest if they had dedicated rights. When it comes to the amount respondents are willing to spend on spectrum annually, on average, respondents are willing to spend USD $2.1M with 41% of the respondents willing to pay USD >$3M. How operators, service providers and system integrators support enterprises in obtaining spectrum for advanced wireless solutions at the right prices will be an important part of the value proposition.

Partnerships will be increasingly important in supporting both design and implementation of new wireless networks

Enterprises are looking to pick from a wide range of sources to support the design and implementation of their networks, which may ultimately signal the need for stronger partnerships between service and solution providers. For network architecture design, respondents are looking to application and cloud providers as their most trusted partners, with Australian respondents looking for an end to end solution design (49%). Fixed wireless network providers, infrastructure providers, mobile carriers and Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) are the most sought after implementors with private network providers and consulting firms cited as the top alternate choices.  

The bottom line

Operators and service providers need to recognise the dynamic shifts that are taking place in enterprise demand for wireless and mobility use cases, as organisations adjust their businesses and employee engagement to a world shaped by the pandemic; also recognising that CEO and other C-level executives are increasingly making wireless technology decisions based on the ability to drive business transformation, cost and security outcomes.

Operators and service providers can assist enterprises in accelerating the modernisation of their networks, with many respondents telling us that their wireless networks were installed more than three years ago. In doing so, operators will need to explore the power of the ecosystem and partner with NEPs, hyperscalers and system integrators as the true potential of – and business cases for – these advanced wireless technologies can only be realised through business outcomes enabled by application, infrastructure, data analytics and human capital transformation.

Highlighting and addressing the key concerns and opportunities that advanced wireless technologies can present will also help build trust with the enterprises. Cybersecurity, compatibility with existing systems, maturity of the technologies and difficulties in identifying the right use cases were highlighted as the top four concerns with the adoption of new wireless technologies. Operators can look to alleviate these concerns and respond to the use cases with an end-to-end set of offerings to help unlock the benefits of these emerging technologies.