Enough 5G hype, consumers want telcos to deliver
The 5G hype and the amazing benefits the technology brings for both consumers and enterprises continues to be discussed everywhere. In fact, the hype around 5G technology continues to create increasing demand for the network as well as devices that can support the network.
In countries like Singapore, which now has 95% 5G coverage, the full benefits of the network are being enjoyed by both consumers and businesses. For consumers, 5G has improved their download and upload speeds for most of their daily activities, including streaming and gaming.
For enterprises, 5G has increased its capabilities in using more automated tools. This includes automated machinery and such in manufacturing plants as well as fully autonomous vehicles in some areas. The increased use of IoT sensors and devices in many industries has also benefited from the network.
Interestingly, a new report from Digimind, the most trusted AI-powered social listening and market intelligence software, analyzed consumer sentiment around 5G-related mentions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
The consumer insights report highlighted how consumers perceive 5G technology and what are their current experiences as well as the expectations from the network. For example in countries like the Philippines and Singapore, the expectations of 5G are significantly different from consumers in Indonesia and Malaysia who are yet to experience the full capabilities of 5G.
According to the report, consumers in Southeast Asia continue to move towards being mobile-first when it comes to 5G. In the first half of 2022, there are more discussions around mobile data than broadband across four countries reviewed, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The demand for improved mobile data connectivity and development remains relevant and continues to increase in these countries.
On the other hand, broadband targets specific market segments such as schools, businesses, and a significant portion of households as well but it is easier to have mobile data access than broadband in most countries. In the Philippines, broadband is also more expensive to maintain than mobile data.
At the same time, Digimind’s report also stated that apart from telco brands, smartphone brands are also generating 5G conversations and mentions as they continue to release new models and feature its 5G capability, even in countries where 5G is yet to be expanded. For example in Malaysia, despite the 5G network still not being provided by most major telcos, there have been few mentions of considering 5G capability when buying a new phone, highlighting latent consumer expectations of improved infrastructure in the near future.
Delivering the promises from the 5G hype
For Olivier Girard, Head of APAC at Digimind, brands and digital marketers are facing amazing challenges in the advent of future technology. Girard explained that communication strategies around the need for new technology can only be possible by looking inwards and understanding current perceptions and gaps in existing technologies.
“Acquiring first-hand data around your customers can help brands to objectively build a strong process of feedback to not only benefit customer service but product innovation and marketing. While telcos and consumer electronic brands are paving the way to accelerate us into the future economy, they must do so with incision and relevance to the wider environment,” added Girard.
As such, there are still several key challenges that telcos can address in promoting 5G to their customers. For example, consumers are still upgrading their smartphones and SIM card to be 5G-ready. Telcos can help overcome this challenge by closely assisting their customers in the swift upgrade, especially as they may not be familiar with the process yet.
The second challenge is the expansion in more areas and locations. For Singapore, there is a request for signal improvement in tunnels, which may also mean an expectation for signal improvement in public transport areas. In the Philippines, specific areas are mentioned for 5G expansion. These are usually in the provinces where network connection is not usually stable.
Another challenge is specific smartphone brand support. Consumers are wishing 5G will support their preferred smartphone brands. Telcos ensuring that their connection is inclusive not just in terms of area coverage but also in compatibility will ensure more usage from consumers.
Despite these challenges though, 5G is a highly anticipated piece of technology that everyone is looking forward to. The hype in marketing has already done its part in creating awareness for the technology. Now it is up to the mobile network operators to ensure they can deliver what was promised to their users.