This week, following Gotransverse’s win at the TM Forum Catalyst Awards, Gotransverse Chief Product Officer Geoff Coleman appeared on the Up Next in Commerce podcast hosted by Mission.Org. Coleman was joined by catalyst teammates Natasha Sachdeva, VP Solutions Engineering at Mirakl, and Olivier Smith, Technology Lead from the Office of the CTO at Matrixx, to discuss some fascinating insights about how telecommunications companies are evolving, what we can expect from 5G, and how marketplaces can become more ‘sticky.’

Here are a few key takeaways from the podcast, starting with the answers to the biggest questions on many consumer’s and business’s minds when it comes to 5G and today’s Marketplace:

What is 5G, Anyway?

“When we think of 5G, we’ve heard of 3G and 4G and think 5G must be pretty much more of the same, though maybe a little faster, better, or stronger,” said Olivier Smith. “And that’s not entirely incorrect, but it’s a pretty narrow view of it. It’s a lot different.”

What’s Different About It?

While 5G will lead to some of the fundamental advancements we’d expect after transitioning from 3G to 4G, such as faster download speeds, 5G is much more than high-speed broadband. It’s about connecting billions of devices, from simple to complex, in just about every industry. It’s also about creating purposeful networks for concrete applications. What those applications will be, we can only imagine at this point. But examples may include networks designed to increase efficiency in agriculture, enhance road safety, improve healthcare monitoring, and more – all helping us live what Smith imagines as “safer, more comfortable, and less resource-intensive lives.”

Smith also pointed out that these applications can require incredible reliability, which can have severe implications in our daily lives. Coleman agreed, noting that, in one significant way, 5G will be a throwback to telecommunications practices long past:

“For providers, 5G is almost going back to the old landline days. Those of us who remember dial phones, where you picked up your phone and always had a dial tone. That reliability has not been there in the mobile world to date, and that’s one of the promises of 5G: to get that level of reliability back into the communications network.”

What Will It Take to Bring the Benefits of 5G to Consumers?

Something all three panelists agreed on was that telecommunications providers couldn’t do it alone. Instead, said Sachdeva, “For service providers to be able to provide this value, they need to be able to open up their business models to leverage the different innovation that’s being generated and provided throughout the industry and be able to provide that to businesses and other consumers as well.”

In other words, telecommunications companies will need to collaborate with other businesses — from enterprise software and cloud platform providers to manufacturers in every industry — to bring the theoretical values and benefits of 5G to life in any significant way. And marketplaces are a powerful tool to foster that collaboration. Sachdeva noted that marketplace growth has significantly surpassed e-commerce in the last year or so, explaining that there are inherent limitations to traditional e-commerce that marketplaces can help businesses overcome:

“As we think about marketplaces, they’re going to speed up and bring that agility because there’s this whole network of sellers that can be accessed, there’s a whole host of offers and services that […] you can hook into a marketplace quite quickly and rapidly and then be able to leverage the expertise of organizations that have that marketplace experience to be able to build out the bundling of services and products that are needed to consumers quite easily and quite quickly as well.”

These marketplaces, designed to foster collaboration among telecommunications providers and other businesses who can enhance or benefit from their expertise, work best when they streamline the shopping experience for the end-user. As Coleman reminded us, customers don’t necessarily care about 5G versus anything else. “What they’re looking for,” he said, “is a product with a service that has some communication component that’s carried out over the network.” The technicalities don’t necessarily matter to the customer, so long as the experience is seamless, and the product works as it should. For example, Coleman offered the Apple App Store, AWS, or a Salesforce marketplace. When someone purchases from any of those marketplaces, it works. “You very rarely get things that just don’t work together,” he says, and it’s that seamless experience that makes a marketplace work — and that ultimately delivers the benefits of 5G to customers.”

Learn More About 5G, Marketplaces, & B2B2X

We’ve given you an introduction here, but Coleman and his fellow panelists took a deep dive into what it will take for telecommunications companies to harness the power of 5G — and how collaborations like their award-winning TM Forum Catalyst Project are helping bring those visions to life.

You can listen to the full podcast episode here. And, if you’re interested in learning how Gotransverse uses its expertise to help clients in telecommunications and other industries create frictionless customer experiences through their marketplace platforms, please request a demo, and one of our experts will walk you through our platform and process.