Telia 5G Boost Development Program Produced New Business Innovations around 5G Technology

Aalto University Executive Education and Telia collaborated on a program around 5G technology and its opportunities for Telia’s business. The six-month program for Telia’s sales professionals resulted in new innovations and an entirely new business area for the company.

Alongside the innovation process, the program aimed to alter the mindset and strengthen the innovation culture in the organization. Photo: Junnu Lusa

Annika Rautakoura, 06.10.2022

In late 2020, Telia was looking for ways to explore new business opportunities from the rapidly developing 5G technology. For the multinational telecommunications company and mobile operator, 5G is a significant growth area providing untapped market possibilities and applications.

The current transition into the new, fifth generation of mobile technology provides an excellent opportunity to explore avenues for growth, says Janne Koistinen, Director of the 5G Program at Telia and a key figure in the program. 

“Previous transitions from 2G to 3G and 3G to 4G have focused on improving previous technology. For the first time, we’re taking mobile technology to new users and operating areas,” Koistinen notes.

5G Boost was just the program for Telia was looking for at this point of the technological transition. 

Searching for new ideas together  

When planning the program, Telia had a specific goal: to offer something beyond traditional training and do real, hands-on innovation. It was important to include different business units from the very first stages. Participants were primarily from B2B sales.

Telia had a specific goal: to offer something beyond traditional training and do real, hands-on innovation."

The program kicked off in February 2021 and continued until the end of August. The initial stage included an inventory of what had been done in the field of 5G, involving an exploration of different methodologies and tools for iterating business ideas with potential clients and partners. 

Aalto EE was considered the right partner for Telia, as it could operate both as a facilitator and overall architect of the development program.

“We needed an active partner to help us innovate while overseeing the entire process,” states Timo Hietalahti, Director of Engineering and Regulations at Telia.

The program included 100 interviews with Telia’s clients and partners to explore avenues for business development. Participants worked in teams to explore new business ideas around 5G technology, coming up with a total of nearly 200 ideas. Telia’s partners and clients also presented ways they have used 5G technology in their industrial solutions. 

“Providing the participants with real use cases from industrial setting was an excellent way to increase understanding of a relatively challenging technical subject,” Hietalahti notes. According to him, it also offered a great networking opportunity for Telia and its clients and partners.

New business area and increased understanding of 5G 

In addition to finding new tools and ideas for 5G-enabled solutions, the program aimed at altering the mindset and culture in the company, says Laura Carnicelli, Program Director of Telia 5G Boost’ at Aalto EE.

The process highlighted the importance of increasing dialogue with clients and presenting ideas."

“The process highlighted the importance of increasing dialogue with clients and presenting ideas, even when they are far from complete or ready,” she states. ‘’We used the lean startup approach with quick iterations on the business model, based on the insights the teams gathered from the market.”

One business idea proved to be especially promising, and after it was presented to the management, an entirely new business area and team was dedicated to commercializing it.

According to Telia’s Koistinen and Hietalahti, sales around the new business area are active. The new business area, called industrial safety, explores possibilities for utilizing mobile technology and video analytics to support safety in industrial functions, for example, with the help of computer vision. The goal is to reduce manual work for humans while increasing automation safely. 

“The new business area matched perfectly with the goals of the program, as it draws on the real-time and large capacity of 5G technology, data speed, and edge computing,” Hietalahti says. “It’s also an example of building something totally new.”

The innovation continues

The process was a collaboration from the start. “We truly worked together with Telia’s representatives and HR to find the best ways to empower and equip people with concrete tools,” Aalto EE’s Carnicelli underlines. 

Janne Koistinen reveals that feedback on the program has been positive at Telia. The collaboration offered an inspirational change to everyday routines and a larger perspective into the vast 5G environment.

Telia 5G Boost brought an excellent understanding of what 5G technology can enable."

He also believes that partnering with Aalto EE as an active innovation partner ensured that the program will have long-lasting effects on Telia’s business development.

“Telia 5G Boost brought an excellent understanding of what 5G technology can enable, and how our competitive landscape and products may evolve in the future,” Koistinen iterates.

The innovation at Telia will continue, with newfound enthusiasm. “Innovating together always provides a fresh start and introduces a new layer of creativity into our work,” Koistinen highlights, “and it’s great for the employer brand, too.”


Customized Solutions are tailored programs for organizations. Customized Solutions are co-created with organizations to achieve a truly impactful and inspiring program. In our programs, we assist our customers in developing and carrying out strategic transformations and help our customers to address current and future business challenges. Read more

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