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5G, the latest standard for wireless networks, remains a huge area of investment for communications service providers (CSPs) around the globe. With its ability to deliver data at gigabit speeds (up to 20 Gbps in theory) and with much less latency than 4G LTE networks (< 1 ms), 5G promises to unlock a whole new range of business opportunities for CSPs. Enterprising network operators are building advanced 5G networks that form the foundation on which smart cities, connected cars, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) applications, cloud gaming, and more are powered. But while network operators around the globe have been rushing to roll out new 5G networks, consumers in key markets have been sitting on the sidelines unaware of the benefits of 5G and awaiting the "killer app" that is going to compel them to upgrade.
Over the past 3 years, deployments of 5G network technology have advanced swiftly. Operators in more than 60 countries have activated 5G networks and are now providing access to consumers. Unfortunately, while launch activity has been robust, consumer adoption of 5G has lagged expectations. According to a recent study by YouGov.com, which surveyed more than 18,000 people from 17 nations, 5G has yet to catch on in a big way with mobile consumers, especially in the US and Europe. The study cites a lack of consumer awareness and a poor understanding of the benefits of 5G. Specifically, respondents "do not know if 5G will change how people connect to the internet," or whether the benefits are worth the additional costs. Many consumers are of the opinion that 4G/LTE connections are “good enough” and are therefore reluctant to upgrade.
To reap the full benefits of their investment, CSPs will need to sell the value of 5G to consumers to convince them to upgrade. Consumers' motivation to upgrade will be driven by the demonstrable benefits 5G connections have on the applications and services they already use. So what are some things CSPs can do now to win over 5G subscribers, keep them interested, and show them the value of faster mobile connectivity?
Let's start by exploring what consumers are hoping 5G will do for them. According to research from IHS Markit, 81% of survey respondents under the age of 50 expect video streaming will be the top activity and a primary reason to upgrade to 5G. Such a high figure suggests that CSPs interested in attracting and retaining 5G subscribers should consider how they can deliver better video experiences to customers as a way of compelling them to upgrade. Video experiences can come in many forms, including CSP branded services pay TV services, and over-the-top (OTT) streaming applications that offer live and on-demand content, as well as personalised TV recordings. All of these experiences can be enhanced by implementing video technologies that are optimised for 5G networks. Mobile-optimised video technologies can be used in a variety of ways to improve consumer's perception of 5G, for example
Investing in a mobile video strategy is a great way to showcase the benefits customers can expect to receive from an ultra-fast mobile broadband connection. Beyond the near-term growth opportunities in video streaming and advertising, mobile-optimised CDN technology also provides a great jumping-off point for introducing other services like AR/VR, cloud gaming, and connected car applications. For operators looking for a killer app to drive 5G adoption and keep customers engaged, look no further. Focusing on video to boost 5G subscriptions can help operators achieve their growth objectives and generate the consumer enthusiasm needed to fuel operators' visions of a 5G-powered future.
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