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92% of telcos, public and private sector experts see neutral host as the answer to 5G densification challenge

Research reveals increased confidence in 5G performance amongst business customers, underlines importance of network densification and spotlights role of neutral host networks

02 November 2023 | London, England

New research reveals 92% of telecoms decision makers across operators and the public and private sector in the US, UK and Ireland are likely to work with neutral hosts to remove the challenges associated with 5G densification. ‘Neutral hosts: the answer to 5G densification in delivering an interconnected future’, based on research commissioned by Boldyn Networks, highlights rising business confidence in 5G, the importance of 5G in organisational performance and the challenges in achieving ubiquitous 5G connectivity.

Four years into widespread rollout, seven in 10 telecoms decision makers feel more confident in 5G than ever before. And a majority recognise that 5G availability has a direct impact on performance within their organisations today. Half (51%) of respondents believe 5G will deliver optimal performance in areas relevant to their organisations in the next six months, 78% in the next year. This will demand significant improvements in 5G coverage and capacity, known as densification. In June, OpenSignal reported that 5G availability stood at just 31.1% in the US, 10.1% in the UK and 14.5% in Ireland.

So, what’s holding back enterprises from pursuing a 5G densification strategy? Several challenges must be overcome to drive 5G densification at the pace expected by public and private organisations. The major obstacles include the substantial CAPEX investment needed, achieving ubiquitous connectivity, and laying new fibre. These challenges are driving a re-evaluation of 5G densification strategies. Neutral hosts are companies that deploy and operate connectivity infrastructure and lease it to telecoms operators and public and private sector organisations. Once understood, neutral hosts emerge as a credible alternative to ‘traditional’ densification approaches, due to their ability to overcome these hurdles. The key benefits of neutral hosts were identified as cost effectiveness, sustainability, time efficiency and simplicity.

“Our industry has made great progress in rolling out 5G networks globally and confidence in its performance by business customers has rocketed. But to create the truly interconnected communities of the future, it is essential that we close the gaps in 5G connectivity –indoors, outdoors, in urban, suburban, and rural environments. That’s what network densification is all about,” said Justin Berger, Group Chief Strategy Officer at Boldyn Networks. “Both operators and public and private organisations face serious challenges in achieving ubiquitous connectivity. So how do these decision makers go about this? Our report reveals that neutral hosts will play a crucial role in network densification strategies.”

Key report takeaways

Confidence in 5G is growing

  • 71% of decision-makers in telecoms operators, public and private sector organisations in the US, UK and Ireland now feel more confident in 5G performance than ever before
  • 5G availability is rapidly growing in importance among enterprise and public sector IT decision makers. 86% of US respondents and 64% of UK&I respondents say 5G availability has a direct impact on performance within their organisation today
  • 78% believe 5G will deliver optimal performance within the next 12 months, with US respondents most optimistic

Key challenges of 5G rollout and the need for network densification

  • 96% of decision makers have faced challenges deploying 5G infrastructure, eight in 10 expect to exceed their planned spend
  • The top three challenges include CAPEX requirements (29%), achieving ubiquitous connectivity (27%) and laying new fibre (24%)
  • As confidence in 5G increases, there’s a clear move towards embarking upon 5G rollout strategies quickly. To that end, 47% of respondents claimed that increasing the deployment of macro cells and small cells was a priority.
  • 60% of telecoms operators, public and private sector organisations have a clear network densification strategy, but US-based organisations are more advanced

Is a neutral host approach the answer to network densification?

  • 92% were likely to use neutral hosts to remove the headaches associated with 5G densification
  • Cost effectiveness, sustainability credentials and time efficiency were the most popular reasons neutral hosts appealed to respondents

To read Boldyn Networks latest report, Neutral hosts: the answer to 5G densification in delivering an interconnected future, visit this LINK.

About the research

Boldyn Networks commissioned Sapio Research to conduct this research. The survey was conducted among 200 telecoms decision makers, 200 5G enterprise experts and 200 Public Sector IT decision makers in the UK and Ireland (50%) and US (50%), from organisations with 100 to 5000+ employees. The respondents were all decision-makers with varying levels at seniority, including:

  • 38% were owners, founders or directors
  • 9% were C-Level executives
  • 48% were managers
  • 4% were consultants or advisors

The interviews were conducted online using an email invitation and an online survey, and via telephone using CATI by Sapio Research in August 2023.