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According to a global survey fielded earlier this year by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, in partnership with A10 Networks, mobile service providers anticipate significant new revenue opportunities from the coming deployment of high-speed 5G networks and a host of new IoT-driven use cases, but they also believe much-improved security will be essential to realizing that potential.

The study report, “Securing the Future of a Smart World” demonstrates that carriers are moving decisively toward 5G commercialization and that security is a top concern.

  • 67% – will deploy their first commercial 5G networks within 18 months and another 20 percent within two years
  • 94% – expect growth in network traffic, connected devices, and mission-critical IoT use cases to significantly increase security and reliability concerns for 5G networks
  • 79% – say 5G is a consideration in current security investments

“Mobile carriers anticipate significant revenue opportunities and exciting new use cases as they move forward with their 5G deployments. However, the industry also recognizes that 5G will dramatically raise the stakes for ensuring the security and reliability of these networks,” said Gunter Reiss, vice president of A10 Networks. “New mission-critical applications like autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and remote patient monitoring will make network reliability vital to the safety and security of people and businesses. Meanwhile, dramatic increases in traffic rates and connected devices will significantly expand the attack surface and scale for cybercriminals.”

Realizing the potential of full-scale 5G networks requires major investments by carriers, and payback on that spend is a crucial issue for the telecommunications industry. Operators see significant opportunities to increase revenues and innovate new business models.

The top-three benefits derived from 5G:

  • 67% – Overall growth in the mobile market
  • 59% – Better customer service and satisfaction
  • 43% – The creation of new 5G-enabled business models

Top drivers for 5G:

  • 60% – Smart cities
  • 48% – Industrial automation and smart manufacturing
  • 39% – High-speed connectivity
  • 37% – Fixed wireless
  • 35% – Connected vehicles

Chief among security concerns are core network security and DDoS protection.

  • 63% saw advanced DDoS protection as the most important security capability needed for 5G networks
  • 98% of respondents said core network security was either very important (72%) or important (26%) in 5G build-outs
  • 79% have or will upgrade their Gi/SGi firewalls
  • 73% have or will upgrade their GTP firewall

“Operators overwhelmingly understand the importance of upgrading security in a more connected and smart world,” continued Reiss. “Now it’s time to take decisive action. Carriers need to move ahead aggressively with their plans to upgrade legacy DDoS protection and consolidate security services at the core and edge of their networks to address the growing concerns. A10 Networks’ 5G security solutions including Gi/SGI firewall, GTP firewall and AI-based DDoS protection enable operators to secure and scale their networks now and protect against the massive cyber threat coming with 5G.”

In partnership with A10 Networks, the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network conducted a global survey of communications service providers to understand industry intentions, priorities and concerns about 5G. The study includes a survey of 145 IT and business leaders at communications service providers globally.

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