According to a recent Magid study, consumer awareness and interest in 5G are high—especially high considering this is a product that’s just rolling out and not readily available to most consumers.
In this post, we’ll take a look at a few challenges facing mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) when it comes to capitalizing on high levels of awareness and interest.
The bittersweet success of 4G
One of the primary challenges facing the industry is that it’s hard to tout improvements when mobile service subscribers are largely satisfied.
The bittersweet part is that consumers are so satisfied, they’re likely to be dubious that the improved speed and reliability that come with 5G will improve their lives in any meaningful way.
But what about mobile growth and the Internet of Things (IoT)?
More traffic from increased mobile users will put more demand on mobile broadband networks. However, consumers have little trouble connecting smart home technology and wearables to 4G networks and therein lies the problem. While the continued growth of connected homes and the expansion of IoT devices will certainly increase demands, the industry lacks a revolutionary gadget like the first-generation iPhone or 4G-enabled wearables to catapult 5G to the top of consumers’ minds. Eventually the stuff of science fiction—self-driving cars, smart cities, digital factories and virtual healthcare will build increased demand for the ultra-low latency 5G can provide, but many of these applications lack direct consumer appeal.
We likely cannot yet envision what next big thing will drive consumer adoption of 5G given the inability for most consumers to anticipate the success of companies like Amazon or Uber—and the impact they’ve had on their day-to-day.
5G still seen as built for mobile, not home
One of the last hurdles facing MNOs who will undoubtedly be looking to recoup high investment costs in 5G technologies is that consumers still see 5G as a mobile service.
Given the competitiveness of the cable and internet market, and similarity of offerings, uptake will depend upon how the service is bundled with wireless services, promos and discounts—similar to how internet was introduced by cable providers in the early days of the internet. Just as the case was then, reliability and reach throughout the home will be key—with higher stakes at play.