Wholesale is likely to emerge as a key revenue stream for 5G services, especially using the virtualized capabilities of core and edge radio networks to enable end-to-end private networks by third party customers.
The whole point of operating virtualized networks (network functions virtualization) is to support rapid and easy creation of network services and features, almost on-demand, for internal and external customer purposes. In the 5G era, that will include “network slicing.”
Network slicing allows the creation of customized virtual private networks to support mobile operator offers or wholesale opportunities to support third party applications.
And such wholesale opportunities might develop as quite an important revenue source. About 44 percent of industry executives surveyed by GSM Intelligence believe operating as a “platform provider” will be the “primary role” for a 5G network, in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer” realms.
About 41 percent believe the primary role in the 5G era will be as a digital service provider, which might have both wholesale and retail aspects.
Likewise, 31 percent of respondents believe third parties will partner for neutral host services. Another 26 percent believe third parties will partner with 5G operators to offer their own services.