Kristina: How do you expect 5G to change the digital space for carriers?
Greg Wester, CMO, Mobile Posse: To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s Deja Vu all over again.” With each new generation of wireless, carriers have hoped to find the holy grail of value-added services that would net them new revenue streams. Each time, however, carriers have seen their subscribers flock to alternatives owned by others – allowing tech giants like Google and Facebook to profit in part due to the carrier investment in better networks.
Another Yogi Berra end result of 5G is that network quality will once again become a key driver of net adds/losses. Today, few consumers are likely looking to switch due to poor networks, but that is something that will change once 5G markets start rolling out. Speed to key markets may end up being a significant driver of carrier switching.
Kristina: Is now the time to start looking at new device options? Or is infrastructure where attention should be focused?
Greg: If carriers aren’t already rethinking the device, they need to start immediately. For long-term success, carriers can’t continue to rely on network differentiation – which, honestly, has become less disparate with each passing wireless generation. Instead, they need to focus on new 5G services and make it as easy as possible for people to do the things they constantly do on the device. Carriers are in the catbird seat with subscribers when it comes to 5G services because of their device influence. By turning the device into a content discovery solution, it can also become their marketing engine. The device then can be the “Trojan horse” that helps subscribers discover new carrier services that will increase revenue and brand loyalty.
For example, for those with a 5G ready device, carriers can use their discovery solution to promote their 5G services. For those without a 5G ready device, a content discovery solution can promote the value of switching to 5G. In this way, subscribers can discover more about carrier services, and carriers can create high adoption rates and beat other alternatives to market.
Kristina: How do you expect 5G to impact businesses?
Greg: In a nutshell, the strong are just going to get stronger. Consider:
– Only 25% of small businesses invest in online marketing
– Only 26% are investing in email marketing, and
– A mere 17% are investing in search engine optimization (SEO)
And that’s in today’s world! When differentiated 5G services are available, small businesses will still be playing catch up. Meanwhile, larger companies are going to invest in new 5G supported services that improve their customer relationships, supply chain, and streamline operations. When the scales are already unbalanced, survival of the fittest will become a complete mismatch.
Among the winners, however, the competitive geographic landscape will increase. With 5G comes a more connected world, allowing for close, intimate customer experiences to even those who aren’t in close proximity. This will further hinder the small business that focuses on a local market, but allow larger businesses to reach customers that weren’t available to them prior.
Kristina: What do businesses need to do now to prep for 5G?
Greg: As Monty Hall might say, “Let’s Make a Deal!”. The contrarian in me would tell people that it’s a good time to shop around. Companies should learn the name and number of carrier sales reps that are offering 5G services. Expect new opportunities and services that could vastly improve bottom lines.
Additionally, if they haven’t done so already, they need to start transferring all their systems and services to the cloud. The 5G world will reveal new opportunities for businesses, but it will require them to move quickly. By creating a nimble software and services environment, businesses can be prepared to move at the speed of 5G when the time comes.