Definitive data and analysis for the mobile industry
Mobile Operators and Networks

Network Transformation 2021

Strategic agendas for secure, open 5G and 6G networks

The global commercialisation of 5G (and the network investments required) has coincided with the introduction of diverse mobile network innovations such as virtual RAN, open RAN, edge networking and network automation. Combined with new market demands focused on energy efficiency and network security, operator decisions on network transformation strategies have never been more important. Such decision-making is important to the operators themselves, their network infrastructure suppliers and the customers who will rely on the networks of tomorrow. Understanding mobile operator network transformation strategies, then, is a critical foundation for understanding the shape of the mobile industry – today and tomorrow. Our survey of 100+ operators from around the world provides a basis for that, divided into key themes to answer the critical questions facing the mobile ecosystem.

The executive summary and survey details sections outline the most important data points for understanding operator network transformation, the questions asked and how GSMA Intelligence captured the information via its survey.

The network strategies and spending plans section examines the most important, overarching, network transformation priorities for operators and how these are reflected in investments.

The network supplier and technology priorities section considers how operator strategies are reflected in specific technology decisions, key customer demands, the adoption status of priority technologies and how new suppliers are being introduced.

The 5G era planning and requirements section identifies how the introduction of 5G impacts operator RAN investments, core network investments and the introduction of new network suppliers. It also explores the importance and deployment timing of standalone 5G.

The 6G era planning and requirements section analyses expectations around future 6G networks, including expected features, expected device types, value to 5G networks and vendor messaging efforts.

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