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Sep 3, 2019 | 3 minute read

Monetizing 5G with headless commerce

written by Anatoli IIakimets

5G adoption is slowly, but steadily rising; and it is expected to comprise 15% of all mobile connections in the world (except IoT) by 2025. Its adoption will not only bring high broadband speeds and low latency, but will also enable new innovative services and business models both for mass market and enterprises. 

Mass market

To drive business growth in saturated consumer markets, service providers will need to leverage 5G to offer new services and monetize every interaction with subscribers.

  • Differentiated Connectivity. 5G will enable granular control over quality of service even for ordinary subscribers; thus, allowing service providers to bring new target offerings to the market. For example, customers will be able to buy “low-latency” packages for games or virtual reality (VR) services.
  • Contextual Offerings. Service providers will be able to sell short-term passes for differentiated connectivity and bundle those with content. These offers should be personalized based on customer preferences, location and account information. Example: subscriber is offered a one-time pass to watch the final game of the NHL Stanley cup in HD quality with guaranteed quality of service.
  • Location-Based Services. 5G will provide never before seen location accuracy down to several meters. This will allow service providers to partner with third parties to enable location-based services for their subscribers. For example roadside car assistance as part of a connected car package.


The B2B market will be the primary source of growth for service providers in the coming years. 5G will bring innovative services and business models to fuel the growth:

  • B2B2X Business Models. Service providers will be able to leverage 5G capabilities to engage in complex multi-tiered partner-enabled business models. Enterprises will be able to sell packaged services to consumers which will include machine-to-machine (M2M) devices, connectivity and content – while service providers will become the key enablers to deliver those services.
  • 5G Infrastructure-as-a-Service. 5G will allow service providers to sell their network capacity to enterprises and other service providers the same way cloud service providers sell computing, memory and storage. This infrastructure will be available for anyone on-demand with a click of a button.
  • Data Monetization. Service providers will be able to monetize huge amounts of data available by providing target advertising and engaging in partner-enabled models. For example, there will be the opportunity to partner with insurance providers to deliver usage-based insurance for car owners.

Why headless commerce is important for 5G monetization?

To successfully sell new 5G-enabled offerings service providers need to find the right commerce platform. This platform needs to support several key requirements common across many 5G-enabled services and business models.

  • Contextual Ordering. Many of the 5G-enabled services will be ordered and consumed contextually through diverse channel ecosystems including web, mobile, wearables and other M2M/IoT devices. This means that the commerce platform should not only rely on the web-store, but support ordering through any touchpoints including third party.
  • Partner Enablement. Partners will become the cornerstone of the service provider ecosystem in the connected world. They will need to order services for them and on behalf of their customers. Therefore the interaction with the service providers needs to be done without manual intervention via exposed API layer. 
  • Real-time Interactions. Many 5G-enabled business models will rely on real-time interactions between different systems including wearables, M2M/IoT-enabled devices and different web services. These interactions will need to be reliable and in real-time which requires a mature API layer able to handle large transaction volumes.

To address these requirements service providers will need to move away from traditional commerce platforms with coupled front-end and towards a headless commerce/API-first platform which can handle ordering across any channel, real-time interactions and partner-enabled business models.