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5G network: What does this mean for digital?5 min read

5 min read

The advent of 5G data brings the promise of exciting opportunities for the digital sector.

Following on from a recent roundtable session conducted by Lydia Wigley, Croud’s PPC Executive, and Lisa Sajwani, Croud’s Strategy and Planning Executive, this article will explore what impact the 5G network will have on the digital industry over the coming decade.

The story so far

5G already has an exciting back story, as it has recently been the focal point in a race between the United States and Korea to launch the technology first.

South Korea not only pipped the United States to the post, but has also seen more success in rolling out the technology, with 8% of the South Korean population already having access to the 5G network. In stark contrast, state regulations and slow uptake of the technology has meant that the US is still yet to roll out the technology to significant portions of their population.

Mobile connectivity in a nutshell

5G is a type of mobile connection, similar to 3G and 4G, and whilst 3G and 4G (and soon to be 5G) are household terms in 2020 Britain, not all understand the difference between them. Not to mention, there are two generations of mobile connectivity prior to 3G, which are rarely acknowledged. So here’s a quick overview of all five generations, and how they compare to one another:

When looking back at the journey of network data the launch of 3G was pivotal. 3G was the first to provide internet connection on mobiles and it revolutionised the way people used their phones. This new technology kickstarted consumer hunger for faster and better data, and later resulted in the launch of 4G. And with 4G already having the capability to provide users with reliable fast internet connection 24/7, what can 5G offer to surpass this?

The superlatives

As with every broadband advertisement, phone release and mobile internet upgrade, there are some seriously impressive statistics bandied around about 5G’s capabilities. It is 100 times faster than 4G, can download HD films within six seconds and can support up to 250 times more devices than its inferior counterpart. In a nutshell, there are three key benefits that make 5G worth considering;

  • High bandwidth – The network will be faster in processing information than 4G
  • Low latency – There will be less delay between when the information is recalled from the network and when this is delivered to your screen.
  • High connection density capability – 5G can cope with more devices being connected to it at the same time. This means you are less likely to be bumped from 5G to a 4G in areas of population density – something that users may experience currently with 4G network.

With great bandwidth comes greater opportunity

When we consider the advancements that have been enabled by the continuous evolution of network data, HD video on the go and live streaming, for example, a faster internet connection is normally the catalyst for significant swathes of innovation.

So although we don’t generally recognise it, these will become the norm before the next generation of the internet is released, which in this case is 5G.

Are there any limits?

Whilst 5G seemingly has great potential, there certainly are some obstacles that may get in the way of a smooth roll-out.

The bandwidth which 5G operates on has a very short reach which means that it requires a significant investment in infrastructure to operate smoothly. This poses the question of whether or not there’ll be a disparity between the availability of network within rural areas, in comparison to cities.

Furthermore, existing mobile devices are not compatible with 5G, meaning the introduction of 5G will also require a widespread launch of 5G-friendly devices.

Not to mention, 5G operates using more data than the other available network, so we can expect to see a soar in prices for mobile plans including 5G network.

Most importantly however is the impact on the environment. Data centres which host our internet connection are already accounting for 4% of carbon emissions produced in the EU. Based on projections, information technology and communications, following the widespread launch of 5G network, could account for 14% of global emissions by 2040. In a country where sustainability is consistently at odds with the desire for economic growth, policies could become a barrier to the roll-out of 5G.

How will 5G change our lives?

In terms of marketing, branding and content, the overarching theme for discussion is richer user experiences. This comes not only from the ability to load technically richer and higher quality content, but also to maximise features such as live content to break down barriers of consumer relationships.

With the ability to find out more about the viewer quicker, 5G will enable creatives to be hyper-personalised. Some have even predicted that 5G will enable video content to adapt in real-time in order to appeal to consumers’ emotional state and attention levels.

Furthermore, the ability to load richer content will allow interactive ads to provide consumers with more unique user experiences. In return, consumers will get the power to interact with rich media content, such as 3D product models, which we can expect will increase engagement with the brand during earlier stages of the consumer’s purchase journey.

Additionally, with 5G giving consumers the ability to stream high-quality content on the go, brands will have more opportunities to build an authentic relationship with their consumers through raw, unedited content, thereby continuing to break the barrier between brands and their consumers.

Richer advertising experiences

As we saw with the rollout of 4G, it is not a smooth transition for mobile networks to introduce a new network connection. However, once 5G is rolled out to significant penetration, we can expect it to bring along richer advertising experiences for its users. This in itself will present a multitude of opportunities within the advertising industry and unlock highly anticipated innovation.

As with every other network update, when preparing for the widespread launch of 5G we can expect to see pivotal changes to the way advertisers connect with consumers, along with the targeting and personalisation capabilities of these ads.

If you would like to discuss the potential opportunities around 5G, or to find out more about our Strategy and Planning services, get in touch.