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5G Technology

Faster data speeds, greater capacity: those are the starting points of 5G networks. It’s what comes next that makes 5G a differentiator. BCG helps companies seize the opportunities.

As 5G capabilities evolve, they will spark powerful new use cases—and business models. Think smart cities, transformative telemedicine, and connected devices on a massive scale. Think super-accurate location tracking for supply chains and inventory management. The list, and the potential, is boundless.

But tapping that potential isn’t straightforward. Deploying 5G networks is expensive, and different technologies foster different uses. Telecommunications operators must bring their commercial, technical, and financial functions together to monetize opportunities. Similarly, companies that can benefit from 5G—in industries such as health care, logistics, and manufacturing—must zero in on the business strategies, operating models, and other elements that fuel the most promising 5G use cases.


Our Approach to 5G Technology

There are a lot of levers to pull if you’re going to turn 5G business opportunities into new revenue streams and competitive advantage. We help companies zero in on a custom-fit 5G strategy and develop the enablers to execute that vision. Among the focal points:

  • Identifying 5G Use Cases. Already, 5G brings much to the table, such as extreme mobile broadband and superior fixed wireless access. More is coming, including 5G capabilities like ultralow latency and network slicing—carving multiple virtual networks, optimized for specific applications, out of a single physical network. These advances enable compelling new 5G business opportunities. We help companies identify the right path for their circumstances, market, and goals.
  • Maximizing Monetization. If telcos are to cost-effectively deploy and continually improve 5G networks, they need to think carefully—and innovatively—about monetization. But it’s not just about funding the journey. Emerging 5G tech opens the door to new business models and revenue streams, enabling telcos to venture—and profit—outside the core. Our 5G consultants help zero in on the most promising near-term and longer-term opportunities.
  • Developing a Cross-Functional Operating Model. There is no one-size-fits-all 5G. Different use cases and geographic regions are served best by different network features. And each permutation comes with its own tradeoffs, timelines, and price tag. This interplay between strategy, 5G technology, and cost requires close collaboration among commercial, network, and finance functions. We help telcos adopt a cross-functional approach.
  • Pursuing Partnerships. There are a lot of layers to 5G use cases. Using 5G in business requires network, data, and industry-specific expertise and resources. While 5G can be a route to growth, it’s not a route you’ll take alone. Our 5G consulting experts help develop and embed the approaches that make working with partners and digital ecosystems second nature.
  • Designing a 5G-Ready Organization. Partnerships, cross-functional teamwork, developing 5G business opportunities quickly and efficiently: all require a more agile, collaborative, entrepreneurial mindset—and organization. We help companies develop the roles, ways of working, and culture that foster innovation, experimentation, and collective action. And we make it all stick through robust change management.

Meet Our 5G Consulting Team

Our 5G Technology Resources

We don’t just promote cross-functionality—we take that approach ourselves. Our 5G consultants are supported by a global network of experts who specialize in an array of technical and functional areas, from agile ways of working and talent development to digital network transformation and IT implementation. Our key 5G resources include:


BCG’s Impact in 5G Technology

Our 5G consultants have helped telcos deploy networks more efficiently and leverage novel technologies and architectures (such as O-RAN). We work with players across the 5G ecosystem, such as tower companies, and partner with industry leaders to identify compelling 5G use cases and business models. Here are a few examples of our work:

Creating a Near-Term 5G Launch Plan for a European Mobile Operator

Taking a Geospecific Approach to Optimizing a Fiber and FWA Strategy

Helping an Asia-Pacific (APAC) telco accelerate the variety of device usage in the 5G era

Developing a 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) strategy for a US telecom operator

Sparking next-gen B2B solutions for a national ISP and managed network services provider

Leading contract negotiations for a European telco

Explore Our Insights on 5G in Business

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Building the US 5G Economy

To unlock the full potential of next-generation mobile networks to drive the country’s growth, policymakers should focus on five key success factors.

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5G Will Take a Different Kind of Launch

With their most exciting business models still years out, telcos must focus on 5G’s near-term opportunities. The usual approach to launching a network won't cut it.

How Mobile Operators Can Profitably Deploy 5G Technology

To capture 5G’s full benefits, operators must key their capex investments to how customers will actually use the network.

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