Telstra was a major sponsor of the recent 3GPP meeting held in Australia. Subsequently, Ovum had the opportunity to meet with 3GPP, ETSI, and GSMA officials at Telstra's Vantage event in September 2018. The finalization of 3GPP Release 15 has opened the way for Telstra's 5G ambitions in the enterprise segment. Its next challenge is to secure 3.5GHz spectrum.
Telstra has announced a "2022 plan" (T22 for short). The T22 plan aims to
simplify products dramatically (the current 1,800 customer plans fall to 20 over three years)
streamline operations and improve customer experience
extend network leadership into 5G and IoT.
Telstra sees 5G as crucial to new IoT use cases, and sees three phases for 5G rollout:
Phase 1, in 2019, will use pre-5G technical standards. Fixed wireless is the key use case.
Phase 2 will happen in 2020 as handsets become available. It will drive down data costs and improve speed and capacity.
Phase 3 after that will deliver new growth opportunities in IoT.
The recent 3GPP meeting in Australia – sponsored by Telstra – finalized Release 15. This release provides for a smorgasbord of different migration options to full 5G. It is crucial to Telstra's 5G vision because it delivers new 5G functionality such as network slicing and SLA management that underpins massive machine-type and ultra-reliable low-latency communications. Key verticals engaged with the 3GPP process, including public safety, utilities, and automotive, are now moving to exploit this functionality.
There are two 5G challenges that Telstra must overcome:
The first is spectrum. Rival Singtel Optus already holds significant spectrum reserves at 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz. We therefore expect Telstra to be an aggressive bidder in Australia's upcoming 3.5GHz auction.
The second is to capture value in the emerging 5G enterprise use cases. This will be the major challenge because these use cases are still unclear, and telcos are stronger in connectivity and in managed security and services than they are in applications development.
David Kennedy, Practice Leader, Asia-Pacific