It’s no secret that the long-awaited 5G capacity is on a roll (out!) and is on its way to providing millions of South Africans with superior connectivity.
Despite lag and delays, SA’s biggest mobile network operators are working furiously to expand their 5G capability through major metropolitan areas.
Vodacom alone plans to spend R11 billion in the 2023/24 financial year on its network infrastructure. And with Telkom finally coming to the party, we can expect more coverage and faster wireless access, even if limited, in surrounding metro areas too.
Innovative plans that have been sitting idle on the backburner because of network and connectivity limitations should finally be coming to fruition.
So, what does this mean for businesses, and particularly their mobile strategy? Well, a lot. 5G networks open up incredibly exciting opportunities for companies looking to improve both their customer experience and user experience.
As I mentioned in my previous article on ITWeb, mobile has become a critical part of business strategy, but to truly innovate and compete, companies need to be taking the user experience to the next level, using immersive tools like artificial intelligence.
What I’m really saying is that it’s time for businesses to think big. Not only because bigger is better, but because we now have the technological capability to be more, offer more and provide more for the end-user, all at the literal tip of our fingers.
Innovative plans that have been sitting idle on the backburner because of network and connectivity limitations should finally be coming to fruition. That’s not to say there aren’t still challenges around implementation, but companies should definitely be looking at how they can provide mobile propositions that rely on faster speed and better internet connections, because these speeds unlock so much potential for companies to attract and retain a loyal customer base.
Here are some of the ways in which 5G connectivity can benefit businesses' mobile strategy:
Mobile apps: Faster download and upload speeds enable app development to deliver a seamless user experience. It also means developers can create apps with better-quality graphics and content.
Deploy real-time applications: 5G networks offer super low latency, which is the time it takes for data to travel between device and network. Low latency is important for the effectiveness of real-time applications like augmented reality and virtual reality, which businesses can incorporate into their immersive customer experience offering.
Increased reliability: There’s nothing worse than inconsistency in the customer experience. 5G networks undertake advanced techniques that ensure connections are stable and network congestion is reduced. Reliability should be one of the main goals of any customer retention strategy.
Connect with a larger customer base: Enhanced mobile capabilities made possible by 5G networks support a large number of simultaneous device connections. This enables companies to scale and expand their mobile strategies and increase the size of their mobile customer market.
Empowers the mobile workforce: With 5G density allowing for more connected devices in one area, it opens up a lot of opportunities for the mobile workforce. Given the rise of the work-from-anywhere culture, 5G empowers employees and businesses to thrive, all while enjoying improved performance and reliability.
An enabler for m-commerce: Data from YouGov Global Profiles tells us that 45% of global consumers use their phones to shop online at least once a day. Greater 5G density only opens this market wider, as well as enables retailers to provide innovative and immersive shopping experiences.
Security: 5G can enable stronger security than 4G LTE, by way of hardware security modules and other key management services. This is critical for successful mobile strategies because data security remains a top concern for mobile customers.
It can seem risky, given the uncertainty of our economy, but if businesses are not incorporating mobile and mobile tech into their strategies, and not making space for what’s possible with 5G connectivity, I do believe they will be left behind. And catching up can be expensive.
If you need even more convincing, according to global data, 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 4.4 billion by 2027, which is almost half of all subscriptions.
Further to this, it’s said that 5G networks are more environmentally-friendly. The verdict is still out on that one, but it’s something to think (big) about.