According to’s latest survey report, 5G’s most significant capability three years from now will be URLLC, underpinned by standalone.

Among a number of key findings, the survey explored the industry’s expectations three years from now. Respondents indicated they believe the future of 5G lies with its advanced capabilities, such as ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) which will gain commercial significance in the mid-term with 47% of responses putting URLLC at the top of the league while relegating enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), currently the feature with greatest commercial relevance, further down the table over time.

The survey goes on to investigate standalone as an inflection point for 5G’s next phase. A whopping 85% of telecoms professionals responding to the survey certainly agree on this point. This also includes 24% who believe there to be an enormous new revenue generating potential immediately opened-up with the advent of standalone. Operators must be hoping this to be the case as they have long feared their business models turning into that of the utility sector and purely acting as connectivity pipes. Commercial 5G has certainly still got a lot to live up to its pre-commercial hype and this is where standalone will kick in.

Other areas investigated by the survey include 5G security, with 45% of the industry professionals considering open-source code as the primary security threat. Concerns around geopolitical tensions mean open-source networking is often seen as the solution to vendor dependency both in terms of security as well as costs. In terms of greater efficiency and network flexibility more than half of respondents (53%) consider open-source software as very important or critical for 5G networks. However, they also have more security concerns with open RAN as compared to traditional RAN.

Private networks were also investigated. Much anecdotal evidence has pointed towards the enterprise sector as the real value of 5G, so it comes as no surprise that 63% of respondents agree the digitalisation of enterprises and IoT deployments as key 5G business drivers.

The costs of building and maintaining networks have risen with each generation, and 5G has been no exception. This seems to be echoed in the general mood of the findings of this survey. There is a lot that points towards the need for 5G standalone to enable core capabilities to be offered to enterprise customers which in turn can drive 5G monetisation and finally pay off those heavy investments made to date. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time for the industry to push for standalone to avoid being left alone.

If you fancy reading the full analysis and get access to the data sitting behind the results, you can download the report here.

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