This study on the monetisation of 4G and 5G first examines how 4G is currently monetised by MNOs given that this is a key challenge for the industry as a whole.

It then explores in depth the paths to monetising 5G and how to avoid the traps and pitfalls encountered with 4G.

The study gives views on the new business models and value chains that are likely to be created by 5G.

Finally, it analyses three scenarios for 5G monetisation.

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary
1.1. LTE monetisation
1.1.1. How is LTE currently monetised?
1.1.2. LTE is still difficult to monetise
1.2. How could 5G get rid of LTE models?
1.2.1. Specific technological components to enable 5G
1.2.2. 5G new opportunities
1.2.3. Three scenarios for 5G monetisation
1.3. Market forecasts

2. Methodology and definitions
2.1. General methodology of IDATE DigiWorld’s reports
2.2. Market assessment and forecasts

3. LTE monetisation
3.1. How is LTE currently monetised?
3.1.1. Volume-based billing
3.1.2. Speed-based pricing
3.1.3. Vertically integrated companies’ content strategies: HD video a new criterion
3.2. LTE is still difficult to monetise in Europe
3.3. Has LTE investment been profitable?

4. Will 5G kill LTE business models?
4.1. 5G has more specificities than former mobile technologies
4.1.1. Key challenges and design principles
4.1.2. Key technological components to meet key challenges
4.1.3. MNOs’ benefits from network slicing and virtualisation
4.2. A host of 5G technical trials are validating 5G capabilities
4.3. 5G brings in new opportunities
4.3.1. 5G is expected to enhance current use cases and expand to new ones
4.3.2. 5G will integrate many technologies — cellular, wireless, LPWAN IoT and more. Usage will be truly gigantic, necessitating new ideas
4.3.3. 5G eases arrival of new players on network portions or advent of new arrangements
4.4. Three scenarios for 5G monetisation
4.4.1. Factors affecting scenarios
4.4.2. Scenario 1: eMBB, immersive and interactive Virtual Reality /Augmented Reality (VR/AR)
4.4.3. Scenario 2: Ultra-reliable MTC/Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (uMTC/uRLLC)
4.4.4. Scenario 3: Massive IoT and verticals
4.4.5. Wrap-up

5. Market forecasts
5.1. LTE market forecasts
5.1.1. SIM LTE estimates and forecasts
5.1.2. LTE revenues estimates and forecasts
5.2. 5G market forecasts

6. Annex: operator benchmark

7. Glossary

List of tables and figures

List of tables and figures

Table 1: Overview of key features for the three scenarios
Table 2: Pricing parameters for mobile plans
Table 3: Operator data allowances
Table 4: Unlimited plans in Europe
Table 5: The Swisscom Natel Infinity product line
Table 6: Vodafone’s DE plans
Table 7: SFR product line
Table 8: Mobile operator value-added content services
Table 9: Movistar: Mobistar quadruple play bundles
Table 10: 5th percentile user spectral efficiency, as defined by ITU-WP5D
Table 11: Emerging video formats
Table 12: Features of 5G to the home
Table 13: Wireless surgery and wireless robots key features
Table 14: Massive IoT and verticals key features
Table 15: Key features overview for the three scenarios
Table 16: Post-paid mobile data plans associated with a smartphone

Figure 1: How mobile traffic is evolving
Figure 2: Mobile ARPU decline in selected West European countries
Figure 3: EBITDA margins declining trend in Western Europe
Figure 4: Capex-to-sales ratio analysis in selected Western European countries
Figure 5: Relationships between QoS/QoE and EBITDA margins in selected Western European MNOs
Figure 6: Performance objectives for 5G and associated use cases
Figure 7: HetNet
Figure 8: Optimal role sharing among cloud, Mobile Edge Computing and Device to Device
Figure 9: 5G: From Vision to Standard Innovation
Figure 10: Network slicing opportunities
Figure 11: Traditional mobile value chain
Figure 12: The disrupted value chain of wireless telecommunications industry, as seen by the 5G PPP METIS-II project
Figure 13: ‘Small cell as a Service’ value chain
Figure 14: Private Virtual Network Operator (PVNO) model
Figure 15: ‘Tower overlay over 5G’ value chain
Figure 16: Sport event integrating virtual reality
Figure 17: In-vehicle infotainment
Figure 18: 5G to the home
Figure 19: Wireless surgery and wireless robots
Figure 20: LTE subscription estimates and forecasts, 2012-2020
Figure 21: LTE revenues estimates and forecasts, 2015-2020
Figure 22: 5G subscriptions
Figure 23: 5G revenues

Geographic area

Asia-Pacific Europe Latin America Middle East & Africa North America World


  • AT&T
  • BT
  • China Mobile
  • Deutsche Telekom
  • Ericsson
  • Etisalat
  • Huawei
  • KT
  • Mobil1
  • Nokia
  • Orange
  • Proximus
  • Qualcomm
  • Samsung
  • SK Telecom
  • StarHub
  • Telecom Italia
  • TeliaSonera
  • Telstra
  • Verizon


4G/LTE monetisation
– Segmentation criteria have changed
– Volume-tiered pricing still the mainstream
– Unlimited offerings are still a hot topic
– Bitrate segmentation still emerging
– Content discrimination as a new criterion

5G specificities, trials and opportunities
How could 5G could help to remove LTE models?
– The virtuous circle of higher investment for better QoS and EBITDA margins
– Performance objectives for 5G and associated use cases
– Key 5G technological components
– Benefits of network slicing and virtualisation
– 5G opportunities
– Status of 5G trials worldwide, to date

From the MNOs’ perspective
Scenarios for prosperity through 5G monetisation
– Three scenarios for 5G monetisation, from MNO perspective

Market forecasts
– LTE market forecasts: 4.7 billion LTE subs at YE 2020 / >730 billion EUR
– 5G forecasts: 1.7 billion subs at YE 2025 / >200 billion EUR

Other details

  • Reference: M17430MRA
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: English
  • Tags: 4G monetisation, 5G monetisation, data allowance, Gigabit LTE, LTE monetisation, LTE revenues, MNOs, SIM LTE

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