The Impact of 5G to Consumers, the Mobile Industry and Our Future

It is becoming impossible to ignore the hype that surrounds the impending arrival of 5G.

Realistically, it will be a few years before everyone can experience download speeds of between 10 gigabits and even 20Gbps per second. But, billions of IoT devices and the arrival of smart cities are much closer than many realise.

Access to download speeds of over a thousand times faster than what we have now, will mean that a 20-minute movie download would only take a few seconds. Five years ago, the value of a mobile phone contract was determined by the number of texts and minutes on your plan of choice. Here in 2019, consumers are locked down to restrictive data plans, but our consumption of information is set to explode.

We are entering a brave new digital world, where 4K movies can be accessed on demand from a smartphone that fits inside our pocket. But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Try to imagine the ability to move and share vast quantities of data that were previously unimaginable. For these reasons alone, 5G is one of the few tech trends where the words game changer is genuinely justified.

Consumers are already beginning to question why they are forced to pay line rental for a landline that they don't use just to have access to home broadband. Equally, the $120 a month TV subscription for channels that they do not watch is slowly being replaced by Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions.

Faster speeds and network availability of 99.999 percent will enable all of the devices in a home and beyond to connect at an unprecedented scale. 5G has the potential to not only transform mobile communications but eventually replace traditional broadband Internet too. Satellite and cable providers that fail to adjust to these changes in their customer's demands could disappear if they fail to adapt to a new digital landscape.

Realistically many early adopters will begin to benefit by 5G next year. Consumers are already driving an emerging experience economy with their continuously rising expectations. Old business models will quickly be replaced by use cases and services that don't even exist yet.

There will be challenges and opportunities ahead in equal measure

Three years have passed since IBM delivered the wake-up call of "the last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere." 5G will bring real-time personalization to life, and brands that fail to deliver these experiences will quickly run into problems.

For example, consumers that experience real-time personalization will evolve from content consumption to engaging directly with brands that they trust. Visiting your favourite store online or offline will quickly turn into a unique tailored shopping experience based on your preferences and previous purchases. All this is made possible by 5G connections by seamlessly transferring data from devices and sensors everywhere we go.

5G will also enable latency in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to drop below one millisecond and process images faster than the human brain. Predictably, tech giants such as Apple and Google are working on AR glasses that are expected to pair with our smartphone and further blur the lines between our online and offline world. Whether you are shopping for clothes or searching for a new home, 5G enabled immersive experiences will quickly become the norm.

5G Will be a huge technology leap

However it's essential to manage our expectations in a world of instant gratification and impatience. Anyone that lives a weak signal area and experienced unreliable 4G will find it difficult to get too excited about the road ahead. Widespread 5G coverage will take time, but it's crucial to focus on the long game.

There have been many stories published online that highlight how 5G will transform our world. But there is an increasing argument that it is more likely to provide the building blocks for an entirely new world. It's time for consumers, the mobile industry, and businesses to think about how 5G will reshape everything they know and understand the role they will play in the alternate future.

Åsa Tamsons, head of new businesses at Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson went as far as to say "5G will have the same impact as electricity, silicon and steam had in the previous industry revolutions." Within the next 3-5 years, we will look back on the days of landline phones, broadband connections, and expensive TV packages with a hint of nostalgia.

The buzzwords of 2019, such as 5G, AI, AR, and IoT will unify data, create unique insights that build personalized experiences where every consumer is finally treated as the unique individual that they are. The success of 5G will initially be determined by reliability, speed, and costs of getting on board.

However, if you dare to look further into the future...

5G connections will kickstart the consumer-centric age and experience economy in ways that we are just beginning to understand. It's officially time to start thinking bigger and making the most of the opportunities ahead.

Our New York team are incredibly knowledgeable in the mobile development market, working with a wide range of exciting clients and experienced candidates. Please get in touch to see how our expert consultants can help you with your mobile talent needs in order to take advantage of the rapid pace of change in the mobile market space.

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