5G Monetization: How Will Operators Monetize the Consumer Opportunity?

Diana Adams
5 min readMar 4, 2021


I’m excited about the endless possibilities of 5G. I don’t think we realize the impact that 5G will have on our lives as it touches almost every industry. Now that 5G networks are launching around the world, we will start to see much faster network speeds and software coming together to form new experiences and services. From an operator’s perspective, what does 5G monetization look like? What will consumers want to buy and how?

In many respects, 5G is a software game, as the need for speed pushes the need for exposure and integration. The networks of today will continuously become more complex. It all has me wondering, how will operators properly monetize 5G and make the most of the consumer opportunity?

It’s my pleasure to discuss this topic and more with Mats Karlsson, the head of business support systems (BSS) at Ericsson.

Q1: It’s lovely to chat with you again, Mats. What does 5G monetization look like? What will consumers want to buy and how?

Mats Karlsson: “5G starts with the characteristics of increased speed and lower latency. Those are the main factors. That means you, as a consumer, will have the experience of fiber wherever you are.

That means all the applications you are currently forced to sit at home to use, you can have completely mobile. I think you will see a lot of innovation happening with new applications that can really benefit from higher speed and lower latency…” (view Mats full answer)

To summarize what Mats said, we won’t have to wait until we are connected to wifi to enjoy seamless real-time gaming, cloud gaming, augmented reality, enhanced filming, and more. That’s exciting!

Seamless mobile augmented reality will finally be possible!

Q2: Will we see the consumer taking center stage in the creation of offers and bundles?

Mats Karlsson: “Absolutely. Sometimes people forget that 4G was really about innovating around mobile internet. I think we will probably see the same thing happening today…” (view Mats full answer)

“A lot of clever people will create applications that will use the characteristics of a 5G connection.”

Well said, Mats. I can’t wait to experience these applications!

Q3: How will we manage this explosion of services? What will it look like?

Mats Karlsson: “Currently, it can take months to develop or launch a new service within a network. I think people will expect that they can buy a service with one click, whether it is bundled with gaming or a standalone service from the network.

Instead of taking months, it needs to be done very quickly for enterprises that want to cooperate with the operator for new services. This innovation needs to also be reflected in the capability of the network…” (view Mats full answer)

I agree with Mats, especially from a consumer’s perspective. We’ll want to add new services to our mobile subscription with one-click. That means fast deployment capabilities for new services must be incorporated into the network itself.

You can download this eBrief for more info. 👉 Getting Creative with 5G Business Models

Consumers will want to add new services to their 5G mobile subscription with one click.

Q4: What are you seeing this year as the pandemic changes the way we work, and how we spend our leisure time?

Mats Karlsson: “Someone told me that the pandemic has accelerated digitalization by about five years. This is partly our new normal. A lot of our work, entertainment and other things have moved to our homes and our consumer devices. I think the pandemic just accelerated what would have happened anyway…” (view Mats full answer)

Q5: Mats, I’ve heard you talk before about the importance of the ecosystem and everyone working together. What is Ericsson doing to help the ecosystem evolve and work properly?

Mats Karlsson: “It needs to be easy, and we are working to make that happen. If you are an enterprise (a gaming company for example), how will you onboard your game so it uses the capability of the network? How will you make it easy for the end consumer to buy the network and the gaming combined?

I think there is still a lot of work to be done to simplify the experience of onboarding partners to the solutions and creating the ecosystem around it.

Obviously, you need to have open APIs. You need to have very simple ways of using exposable assets that are coming from the network, whether that is latency, security, bandwidth or whatever. It needs to be easy for consumers and enterprises to order and consume these type of services…” (view Mats full answer)

It needs to be easy for consumers (and enterprises) to order and consume 5G services.

Q6: Is there pressure on the entire industry to make this happen?

Mats Karlsson: “Absolutely. There is a lot of ongoing standardization work in different foras. For example, there are the telecom management foras, trying to standardize the ordering of services, the provision of services and the monetization of services. We will also see a lot of vertical standardizations (i.e. connected cars).

The good thing is that there is a lot of ongoing work. The bad thing is that there are still a lot of different foras trying to do this. It is a big task for Ericsson to help in this ecosystem…” (view Mats full answer)

I am glad to know Ericsson is not only up to the challenge of helping the industry work better together, but leading the way.

There is a lot of ongoing standardization work in different foras.


The one reoccurring theme that came up several times in this interview is that 5G is the platform for innovation. Also, it is clear that a high level of teamwork is required for everything to run smoothly along the 5G monetization journey.

There are a lot of individual pieces that have to come together. That is why the ecosystem is so important. When innovators, operators and enterprises work together, everyone wins — including consumers.

Thank you, Mats, for helping me realize the renewed emphasis on digitalization and transformation. And thank you, Ericsson, for providing the technology leadership needed to successfully put all these pieces together.

[Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Ericsson]



Diana Adams

Tech journalist, Apple ACN, Digital Transformation, IoT, 5G, AI and the future of tech.