Mobile communications is currently in a state of transition, as 4G networks are upgraded to 5G and physical SIM cards are replaced with eSIM. Further technological and service developments will follow with the deployment of 5G Standalone networks which support network slicing, ultra-low latency communication and other services that are more than just an enhancement of existing features.
This study examines technical developments in mobile connectivity, implications for the value chain and the possible roles that could be played by various stakeholders including mobile network operators, mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), equipment manufacturers (OEMs), operating system (OS) providers and “verticals” i.e. industrial users of mobile connectivity. It looks at the consequences for sustainable competition and consumer welfare, particular by innovation from MVNOs as well as verticals.
It furthermore discusses the possible roles that NRAs could play in supporting competition, innovation and digital inclusion in the context of these technological developments in mobile communications. Potential solutions to address such challenges in given situations can include but are not limited to spectrum allocation for verticals and/or new entrants, spectrum leasing obligations and mandatory access to new features for MVNOs.