5G will accelerate the variety and volume of data traffic, further shattering constrained legacy service delivery models and impacting network economics. Many new services will emerge on the 5G network the same way Uber, Facebook, and Instagram emerged after LTE deployment. Mobile operators face the technical test of squeezing more data into a much faster and more efficient, yet less expensive, pipe while ARPUs are dropping rapidly.
The network economics clearly need to change. Looking to solve the problem, many operators are turning to alternative architectures that drastically reduce their CAPEX and OPEX costs. The shift towards software-based technology and end-to-end virtualization opens the door to new automated, faster-to-deploy, and less-expensive technology options. While networks today have been limited by walled garden technologies, the new and forming OpenRAN ecosystem provides a solid foundation for greatly improved network economics with a vendor agnostic ecosystem of open source components, software, hardware, radios, and open interfaces.