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Why Channel Partners Should Embrace 5G Now

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Vodafone's Kathy Quashie

Kathy Quashie

There are two versions of 5G. The one we have now – consistently fast data speeds, to a growing range of consumer devices, across more and more towns and cities, reaching more people every day. And the one we could have in the future. The one that has the potential to deliver widespread change across United Kingdom industries.

To make this a reality, partners have a fundamental role to play in helping more businesses understand 5G, and in showing them how they can leverage it to deliver real impact — from driving efficiencies to improving customer service.

That’s why right now is the perfect time for channel partners to embrace 5G.

The 5G Opportunity

Since its launch in 2019, the rollout of 5G continues to bring next-generation connectivity across the United Kingdom, with the latest devices offering much faster upload and download speeds than 4G, no matter the file size. This enables enhanced access to PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, videos and images.

5G trials are now turning into reality as well. In particular, we’re seeing a big demand for mobile private networks (MPNs), which provide better security and reliability of service for businesses. The opportunity with the new technology is real. And channel partners will be able to offer customers new and wide-reaching solutions with real use cases to back up the visions. The evidence is mounting that 5G will enable businesses to work more quickly and efficiently, while increasing productivity and reducing costs.

With the promise of transformative and innovative applications, it is clear that 5G presents a tremendous opportunity to re-engage existing customers, and break into new areas. There’s excitement in our industry, and in the vertical sectors that we increasingly serve. There’s a buzz, and partners are embracing the opportunity more and more.

The Risk of Losing Out on 5G

A report, commissioned by Vodafone, has found that upgrading the U.K.’s mobile infrastructure to 5G could be worth as much as £158 billion to the economy over the next 10 years, providing a much-needed financial boost to the country as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The value of 5G and the changes that it can bring are, I believe, only heightened by the challenging times that we’re in. Connectivity is more important than ever, and the demand upon connections is greater than ever, too. That, coupled with an accelerated desire for change and revolution, will drive 5G business cases at great speed.

In this “connected” landscape, businesses are looking for smarter ways to deliver a better customer experience and be more responsive to their customers’ needs. At the same time, they are having to evolve how they connect their own employees. Customers need to be at the forefront of their industries or risk being left behind. The same is true for all of us.

We have to be able to provide the connectivity services that meet new demands, and that inspire new ways of working. So, what can channel partners do now to ensure they remain ahead of the competition? Quite simply: they should start looking to build revenue streams with 5G, now. And to do that, they should be educating and inspiring customers of the technology’s many benefits.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

To address soaring expectations around fast connectivity today, channel partners need to be showing the impact that 5G can have, while also reminding people that there are simple ways to get started. 5G is not just a mobile private network (MPN) and bespoke technology installations – all that’s needed to get started is a 5G-ready device and a 5G router. There isn’t even a need to swap a SIM!

It is important for customers to be working with a partner who can adapt to the changing landscape and help them on the 5G journey – perhaps starting small to show the reality, and then using market-leading early deployments to show the potential for their sector.

Because, ultimately, it will be those channel partners who are fastest to embrace 5G and adapt to the change in demand that will gain the competitive advantage in 2021 and beyond.

Kathy Quashie heads up Vodafone‘s Indirect Business, working with Vodafone’s extensive network of partners and resellers to deliver outstanding telecoms services to U.K. businesses through the channel. Prior to joining Vodafone as head of partnerships and alliances last July, Quashie worked for BT as major business director for enterprise. She was also CEO and chair of BT Expedite, BT’s omni-channel retail business, where she led the turnaround and profitable divestment of the unit to an Equity acquirer, APAX, based in America. You may follow her on LinkedIn or @VodafoneUK on Twitter.


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