Key Opportunities in the Telco Landscape

POSTED BY Sam Barker

5G Adoption Increasing Despite 4G Dominance

5G subscriptions using a compatible device significantly grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, but fourth-generation connections remain the dominant force in the sector. As the use of mobile devices becomes more common in developing nations, the enduring high prevalence of 4G usage reflects this still being an emerging technology in many parts of the world. 5G subscriptions are though estimated to grow from 580 million at the end of 2021 to 3.5 billion by the end of 2026.

The advent of 5G does offer service providers the opportunity to leverage quicker connectivity and larger data plans to generate additional revenue streams. The benefits for subscribers having the latest technology at their fingertips and its increased efficacy have the potential to not only encourage greater usage still of devices, but as a consequence, drive demand for higher-yielding service packages to facilitate the increased use of streaming services and gaming. 

Roll-out Strategies Key to 5G Success

As the initial costs of rolling out a technology that is well-estimated, service carriers will need to consider whether to make 5G more economical in less affluent nations, but accept a lower-yielding business model in the short term. Although it is anticipated that 4G will remain the dominant mobile access technology by subscription over the next five years, much will depend on how fifth-generation technology can be made universally available. How a balance is struck in increasing the number of subscribers, whilst ensuring that would-be customers are not priced out of using the latest technology, will remain a significant issue in countries whereby the size of population offers significant potential for growth at a geometric rate, but which is tempered by lower standards of living and disposable income.

As geographical 5G coverage expands, operators will capitalise on revenue streams beyond smartphones. They must bundle multiple device subscriptions under a single recurring payment to benefit from connectivity revenue from other consumer devices. 

The Potential of Rich Media Messaging

The possibilities of rich media messaging are not limited to promotional videos of products/events, scannable coupons and QR codes, and standalone or carousel images. It is indisputable that gaining the instantaneous attention of consumers via SMS has the potential to be the most effective marketing tool open to enterprises, but leveraging its possibilities to the fullest extent will depend on how individual journeys can be established, rather than campaigns relying on generic messaging that will produce far lower conversion rates. 

The Importance of Mobile Identity & Authentication

As mobile functionality increases the uses for which it can perform transactions, there is also the attendant risk of fraudsters gaining critical insight into customers’ identities, and their financial details. The onus lies on businesses leveraging their products on mobile platforms, network operators, and customers to ensure that sensitive data is used appropriately, and protected. 

For those who shop online but are billed through carrier billing within an agreed spending limit that is settled monthly and included with recurring mobile contractual billing but abstract to data allowances, the layer of protection afforded customers by the requirement for banks to accept transactions without question or request further authentication in the form of one-use code is otherwise absent. 

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Our latest research found:
  • Revenue generated from 5G services will reach $600 billion by 2026; representing 77% of global operator-billed revenue.
  • Adoption of 5G services across consumer and IoT sectors has been driven by a strong uptake of 5G-capable devices, coupled with attractive 5G subscription pricing models, despite the semiconductor crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Bundling multiple device subscriptions under a single recurring payment will enable operators to benefit from connectivity revenue from other consumer devices.
  • The amount of cellular data generated will reach 2,900 exabytes by 2026; rising from 720 exabytes in 2021. This represents a growth of 300% over the next five years.