The News: Rogers Communications announced the launch of what it claims is the first commercial 5G standalone (SA) network in Canada and one of the first globally, turning on the next-generation service after completing the rollout of the operator’s national standalone 5G core and the country’s first 5G standalone device certification, continuing its commitment in the rollout of 5G technology. Read the Rogers Communications Press Release here.
Rogers Communications and Ericsson Advance 5G SA Network Cause with Nationwide Rollout in Canada
Analyst Take: Rogers Communications and Ericsson are working together to deliver 5G SA services across Canada nationwide. Rogers has built its 5G SA Core network on a cloud native basis, with the goal of delivering more advanced wireless capabilities such as ultra-low latency, network slicing and mobile edge computing (MEC) to spur innovation and broaden 5G market coverage. Ericsson is the sole supplier for the Rogers nationwide 5G SA core rollout.
Rogers 5G SA is built to scale massively with the multi-year growth potential of IoT devices in mind. 5G Core and 5G RAN slicing are the key 5G technologies that could enable Rogers to deliver innovative new services to customers such as dedicated private networks, public safety applications, and access to edge compute for AR/VR consumer applications.
I find Rogers’ emphasis on its 5G SA network as being built to scale massively and support potentially unprecedented growth of IoT devices in the years to come as refreshing. A great deal of the initial sales and marketing of 5G a few years ago focused on how 5G could spur the massive scaling and monetization of IoT applications and services, with networks frequently envisioned being rolled out as integrated 5G-IoT implementations. However, the limitations of 5G non-standalone (NSA) networks in areas like programmability and latency diminished the mass-scale 5G-IoT business case.
With this move, I believe Rogers gains sales and marketing credibility toward its claim of delivering Canada’s first national standalone 5G core (first announced in December 2020) and the country’s first 5G standalone device certification (announced previously in October 2021 for Google Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro devices). Rogers 5G standalone service coverage targets major Canadian markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal.
From my perspective, the use cases that Rogers is emphasizing indicates which 5G services have the most near-term 5G monetization potential, providing some clarity amidst a wide array of use case possibilities. I see 5G SA expanding the Rogers market opportunity for delivering managed services of dedicated private networks due to factors such as the programmability and network slicing flexibility that 5GC (5G core) technology supports. Also, the Rogers nationwide 5G SA network can provide the holistic control of enterprise networks needed to assure reliable connectivity and coverage in a secure environment.
The targeting of public safety applications follows on Rogers’ demonstration of support for driverless, autonomous 5G shuttles, 5G drone flights, and 5G smart city solutions. All these 5G solutions align with public safety priorities and I expect can be readied for broader commercial applications after being battle-tested across ultra-demanding public safety settings.
Rogers’ plan to use edge compute capabilities to support AR/VR consumer applications is sensible as I see multi-player AR/VR gaming gaining more near-term traction due to the properties of 5G SA networks such as ultra-low latency and 5G policy charging function (PCF). I anticipate that the inroads attained within the AR/VR consumer segment can ease targeting of business AR/VR applications such as remote training, remote R&D, and digital twins across hybrid workforce and work-from-home (WFH) environments for instance.
Of note, Rogers is touting the 5G SA device certification of the Google Pixel 6/Pro 6 smartphones providing an ecosystem boost for the Google brand across the heavily contested 5G device market, including heavyweights Samsung and Apple.
One key aspect that I believe Rogers should emphasize to further strengthen its nationwide 5G SA network push is to tout the sustainability and clean energy benefits that can come with 5G SA capabilities. This can boost overall differentiation as well as boost marketing support in the targeting of new 5G coverage areas such as dedicated private networks.
Key Takeaways on Rogers Communications and Ericsson 5G SA Network Collaboration
Overall, I believe the Rogers launch of its nationwide 5G SA network throughout Canada provides a critical barometer on the use cases that may offer the best near-term 5G monetization prospects for communications service providers. These use cases include dedicated private networks, consumer AR/VR, public safety, and long-term IoT build. I foresee other operators closely emulating these use cases as their 5G SA networks become ready for nationwide and wide-scale coverage. Now Rogers is well-positioned to win more 5G mindshare and expand its influence across the Canadian mobile ecosystem.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.
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The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.