5G: The Connected Consumer

What will 5G mean to consumers? Will we enter a world where digital communications have no limits? How do the mobile networks have to evolve to deliver the next-generation services consumers are expecting?

Is 5G about to revolutionise how consumers experience mobile services? Ultra-fast download speeds. New advanced data services. Intelligent spaces to deliver the smart city with the smartphone becoming the critical conduit to all of these platforms and services.

According to research from Ericsson, consumers are ready and waiting for 5G. They are aware of the step change that 5G will deliver to them which at its heart, is faster and more general network performance. When 5G services do become available, consumers will take full advantage of them with their data consumption, reaching 200GB a month. They also expect and will pay up to a 20% premium for 5G services with first adopters prepared to pay as much as 32% more.

Ericsson stated that many of the mobile operators interviewed regard 5G as an addition to existing networks. The rollout will start where demand is highest – typically in dense urban areas and where signs of network congestion are most visible.

Matt Stagg, Director of Media Strategy at EE, recommends that operators think about the customer experience: “Use 5G to augment the 4G experience in areas where you potentially have challenges in 4G today, such as train stations, commuter hot spots, stadiums and festivals. Consumers expect operators to offer 5G in such key locations to start with.”

The mobile economy has many facets that extend far beyond just retailing. The rapidly expanding m-commerce space will, of course, be a significant torchbearer for 5G, but what is clear is that for consumers, the additional network capacity that 5G can deliver will ensure innovative services quickly appear.

Also, the 5G services that become available will also have a major impact on economic growth. The GSMA estimates there will be 700 million new mobile subscribers by 2025. In 2018, mobile technologies and services generated 4.6% of GDP globally, a contribution that amounted to $3.9 trillion of economic value added.

The GSMA also states: “The mobile ecosystem also supported almost 32 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with more than $500 billion raised through general taxation. By 2023, mobile’s contribution will reach $4.8 trillion (4.8% of GDP) as countries around the globe increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased take-up of mobile services.”

Gunter Reiss, A10 Networks’ VP of Strategy told Silicon: “Imagine safer driving as your connected car can tap into traffic patterns and anticipate stopped or slowed traffic, allowing you to stop in time or change your route; or walking into the new Amazon store and being able to make purchases without ever waiting in a line for a cashier. Moreover, by combining 5G, AI, cloud computing and augmented reality and virtual reality, the entire retail experience will be disrupted in the not too distant future. For example, rather than having a DVD player installed in the car as is currently the case, passengers can view video streaming services brought to them over a 5G network.”

NEXT: The mobile consumer