We take a look at some of the current stories surrounding this new technology.
Are consumers willing to pay for 5G? Not according to research from PwC. A recent survey carried out in the US asked 1,000 people about their awareness of 5G, their expectations of the technology and, crucially, their willingness to pay for it. While the research showed that 5G has an opportunity to improve people’s current perceptions of the mobile web experience (only half of respondents stated that they were currently completely satisfied with their mobile internet service) and that the idea of 5G appeals to the majority of consumers, only a third stated that they were willing to pay more for 5G.
The research also noted that just over a quarter of respondents said they would buy a new device once 5G became available, with the vast majority willing to wait until their mobile phone was due an upgrade.
One of PwC’s suggestions to companies is that they need to find a way to differentiate their offer from the competition to avoid a price war when it comes to marketing 5G to users. Companies are also encouraged to sell the benefits of 5G outside of just faster speeds, as people who chiefly see that 5G is a faster, more reliable service seem to be prepared to wait before investing. According to the PwC, if providers can focus on other benefits of 5G - such as longer battery life in devices or the portability of 5G around the home - users could be more prepared to dive in.
GSMA: Free Up Spectrum, Please
Industry body for mobile operators the GSMA has warned that 5G’s rollout could be at risk unless operators are given timely access to the spectrum, and it’s asking governments, regulators and the wider mobile industry to act.
In its report, the GSMA has raised concerns over how the spectrum is being handled currently, noting that differing approaches into how that spectrum is being auctioned off could lead to a disparity in 5G services globally. Essentially, it’s calling on the world’s governments to work together to bring a successful and affordable 5G rollout for us all, otherwise face a situation in which different countries could have “dramatically” different speeds, reach and quality.
Three UK Commits Investment
Meanwhile, mobile operator Three UK has announced that it is committed to investing over £2bn into the infrastructure needed to implement 5G. The operator has proudly announced that it is “well positioned to bring market leading 5G to customers in 2019”, having completed some key steps required in its network improvement programme in preparation.
Part of this preparation includes the acquisition of a 5G spectrum portfolio that it feels is the best in the UK. With this 5G-ready spectrum at its disposal, Three UK is potentially well placed to make serious inroads in the UK market, upping its profile in the process.
Mobile operators in general will no doubt be hoping that 5G can give the sector a boost in device sales, with the industry having been referred to as being in recession following the latest figures from data and analysis firm Strategy Analytics. According to its report, global smartphone shipments fell by 8% in the third quarter, with the firm’s director labelling the industry as being “effectively in a recession”, having seen a decline in sales over four consecutive quarters.
Samsung was hit particularly hard in sales terms, and Strategy Analytics feels that the reason for the industry’s problems lies partly in a lack of “exciting hardware design innovation”.
For the smartphone industry, then, 5G could possibly provide it with a sales boost that it sorely needs, but it seems that providers may have to get the message out there to encourage consumers to want to upgrade.
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