Is the Industry Finally Reining in Their 5G Frenzy?
In Telecoms.com’s Annual Industry Survey 2018 of 1500 telecom executives, data reveals major hurdles ahead, as carriers and others race to implement viable 5G technology and educate consumers on its value.
5G promises to change the way we live, and as global players increasingly seek to reap its benefits, the journey to 5G is in full swing. Data shows that the regions of Asia Pacific and North America are leading the way toward the commercial launch of 5G services, and more than half of survey respondents expected 5G to be launched in their own markets by 2020. When it comes to 5G’s most promising use cases, high-speed mobile broadband and massive IoT are in the lead.Key Learnings:
- 45% of respondents saw 5G’s greatest commercial potential in highspeed mobile broadband
- Lack of spectrum availability was identified as the biggest impediment to the success of 5G
- Nearly half of the respondents believed consumers would pay more for 5G service, but not by too much
Optimism Measured in the Face of 5G
Optimism around 5G may be strong for now, but service providers are finding it difficult to convey a feasible business case for the technology as average consumers remain ill-informed of its true benefits. 61% of respondents were hopeful about the overall availability of 5G coming in the next two years, however, 40% don’t believe consumers will be willing to pay more for the privilege. This is further compounded by 48% who say they don’t believe 5G will overtake 3G/4G subscriber numbers for another six to 10 years.
While 5G and its immense potential remains top of mind for the telecoms industry, 62% of senior-level executives still think it hasn’t been effectively communicated to consumers, which raises concerns about whether it will increase average revenue per user (ARPU). Impediments to 5G’s success were varied across a host of reasons. From 17% who deemed spectrum availability as the biggest issue, to 15% who said it’s a lack of clear business case or ROI, and 12% who said costs are the most pressing factor, carriers, mobile network operators (MNO) and vendors couldn’t agree on any one major factor weighing against the success of 5G.
Examining the Value of 5G
What is the greatest value of 5G according to those in the industry? The survey noted 45% say it will be from high-speed mobile broadband, fixed wireless or enhanced mobile broadband. But with all the talk of advanced technology lately, it seems respondents have a more measured approach to what 5G can offer. Augmented reality and virtual reality only account for 4% of respondents, while autonomous vehicles and Industry 4.0 received 10% each.
Only time will tell what a future with 5G truly holds, but it’s safe to say there’s a healthy dose of reality within the carrier market. While the promise of 5G and all its intended benefits are still on the horizon, it seems the industry is still identifying which industries can be best served with 5G. It’s likely that confidence in the technology, and the willingness for consumers to pay for it, will only grow after its reliability can be assured, and it’s been implemented for a long time, which would also give critical industries and others the confidence they need that it won’t fail.
If carriers and the industry ever hope to see viable returns on their 5G investments, it’s important they take the steps today to leverage existing and in-development network infrastructure and architecture as much as possible. We know that 5G won’t be implemented overnight, which means there’s still time to create a network with a host of capabilities and services, and then try to sell to consumers based the applications as well as connectivity.
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