Although 5G will continue to roll out for several years to come, 2020 will be the year where it’s expected to prove its worth. With a solid foundation being built by significant providers and with more than 15 5G-equipped smartphones entering the market this year, 2020 could very well be the tipping point for adoption. The question is, how can CSPs leverage 5G to generate new revenues and offer new services, both in the consumer and enterprise space?
We’ve released the findings of our 2020 What Consumers Really Want from 5G report, which surveyed 2,000* consumers on their opinions about future 5G experiences. The data revealed that 5G has the power to impact several notable aspects of consumers’ personal and professional lives, and communications service providers (CSPs) must capitalize on this interest by offering new and enhanced services.
But the question remains: What are the definitive 5G currencies that will help drive monetization? Key U.S. findings from the survey include:
More than just 5G speed
Consumers recognize that 5G is more than about faster downloads: 31 percent are interested in using the technology to enhance their experience with connected home devices and 26 percent to improve cloud and online gaming quality. Another 64 percent are interested in using 5G for better AR/VR experiences around specific events, like the Super Bowl and the Oscars.
This shows a clear opportunity for CSPs. 5G brings them to a place where they can start monetizing the services themselves, offering monthly subscription services bundled with hardware. Expensive equipment may no longer be needed to provide a superior experience; this democratizes high-end content and experiences for the masses.
When it comes to gaming, we’ll see a further shift from dedicated hardware to streaming platforms, which 5G networks can better enable. The big differentiator to ensure success will be low-latency connectivity, including the adoption of edge computing.
5G and the future of work
Consumers expect 5G to impact their remote work experience by creating a seamless working environment that delivers a guaranteed quality of service, potentially provided by a dedicated network slice. According to the findings, 35 percent believe the technology will lead to better video conferencing options. 32 percent anticipate better video training and development opportunities, which would require real-time, immediate interactions. 61 percent think it will create more opportunities to work remotely with ubiquitous access. This aligns with the belief that enterprises will be a driving force in the monetization of 5G. It’s estimated that roughly 30 percent of employees work at home between one and four days a week, with 13 percent working from home full time. By 2028, 73 percent of all teams are expected to have remote workers. As this continues to grow, 5G will play a critical role in supporting next-generation workforces by breaking down barriers between the physical and virtual workplaces.
5G as part of bundling 3.0
Beyond the “big three” of phone, pay-TV, and internet, consumers are willing to bundle even more services if it saves them money and hassle. Most consumers (70 percent) would pay an additional monthly fee for 5G as part of a bundle, meaning that offering the service could create a notable revenue opportunity. Yet it remains to be seen how much extra a consumer is willing to pay for the added benefits of 5G. Still, as we look towards the future, various OTT services – such as video and gaming –could create an opportunity for a bundling 3.0 ecosystem.
Impact to the industry beyond just speed
Consumers generally recognize speed as the logical impact of 5G’s rollout and many see the potential at hand. For CSPs, there is an entire suite of functionality – ranging from low latency, security, support for IoT and network slicing, to name a few – that can be monetized individually and will enable the industry to drive innovation.
Enterprises stand to benefit as well from re-inventing their private networks to leverage the benefits of 5G. Determining which use cases will appeal to the widest audience will be critical; as of now, there’s no silver bullet.
*Source: December 2019 Dynata survey of 1,000 U.S and 1,000 U.K. consumers