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Vulnerability poses the biggest risk to businesses adopting 5G

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UK businesses are most concerned about the susceptibility of 5G to cyber-attacks according to Ernst & Young’s latest Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) research. 

Apparently, 40% of respondents are worried about 5G and cyber-attacks while a similar percentage (37%) were cautious over the security of Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

The survey also found that while 5G investment is set to catch-up with IOT spend over the next two years, doubts surround its readiness and relevance. Just over one third of respondents feared that 5G is too immature, while 32% believe it lacked relevance to overall technology and business strategy. 

The survey of 200 UK businesses looked at attitudes towards the adoption of 5G and IoT technology as well as organisations’ expectations from tech suppliers. 

“It’s not surprising that businesses are most concerned with the threat of cyber attacks,” said Adrian Baschnonga, Global Lead Telecommunications Analyst, EY. “The introduction of 5G will help organisations unlock new growth opportunities but this transition comes at a time when fears regarding data breaches and network security are especially pronounced.

“Our survey also shows that 5G has an image problem. The challenge for technology and service providers is to position 5G as much more than just a faster mobile connection, but instead a driver of strategic change and a critical enabler for a variety of new services.”

Businesses positive 

Despite concerns, 50% of businesses surveyed are planning to invest in 5G technology over the next two years and an additional 9% are currently investing. In comparison, nearly a third of the businesses surveyed (27%) had already adopted IoT technology and 33% were planning to invest over the next two years. This is encouraging for both 5G and IoT with over half either investing or planning to invest.

“It’s important that businesses get and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new technology and it’s encouraging to see strong spending intentions, especially for 5G given it is not yet commercially available,” commented Baschnonga.

“Despite this, tech providers should bear in mind that three in ten organisations are only monitoring these technologies, and a further minority do not actually believe these technologies are relevant to them. Converting these enterprises into IoT and 5G investors should be a focus for TMT providers if they are to maximise their addressable market in the medium-term.”

Enterprises want more

Overall, it was felt that suppliers need to do more to maximise the potential of 5G and IoT. Two-thirds (67%) of businesses said that suppliers needed to articulate a more coherent vision of both technologies in order for them to build a robust investment case.  

At the same time, 31% of those surveyed view best-in-class industry expertise as a factor informing their supplier strategy over the next two years. On the whole, enterprises are seeking a new kind of relationship dynamic, with 70% agreeing that they will prioritise companies that can deliver business outcomes as partners ahead of pure cost or technology benefits.

“5G is much more than just a “plain vanilla” upgrade in speed, capacity and latency, it represents a huge opportunity for TMT providers to tap into new demand scenarios and build stronger relationships with their customers,” claimed Praveen Shankar, EY’s head of technology, Media and Telecommunications for the UK & Ireland.

“Telecommunications and technology companies need to move beyond the supplier mindset to more of a partnership. TMT providers therefore need to focus on explaining the business benefits of 5G and engage in consultative dialogue that positions 5G within the broader context of enterprise transformation.

“Finally, TMT suppliers must be ready with robust solutions that convert business potential into operational strength.”


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