August 31, 2020

5G Still Straggling, But Promise May Grow With a Seed From Apple

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.

A full rollout of 5G technology continues to drag along, and it’s the economic hardships that many Americans face because of the global pandemic that’s keeping it that way, marketing analysts said in a “Behind the Numbers” podcast last week.

Something that might spur the rollout along, they said, is Apple producing an iPhone that is 5G-ready, perhaps late this year or early next, that is reasonably priced and increases consumer demand, such as its most recent SE2 model that sold for $500. About 50 percent of Americans use iPhones.

More formally known as the fifth generation of wireless technology, 5G has been in the works for several years, but most consumers have yet to witness its effects because of the limited number of cellular networks and devices available.

As Marcus Johnson, host of the recent eMarketer podcast, “Behind the Numbers,” explained: “1G gave us phones, or ability to talk over phones; 2G gave us SMS and MMS; 3G gave us slow-as-hell internet and mobile internet with tiny websites on your phones; 4G gave us mobile video, Candy Crush and Instagram. And 5G … will give us augmented reality and virtual reality.”

Once a transition from 4G LTE to 5G is fully in place, smartphone users will mostly benefit from faster speeds, lower latency (data-speed delays) and increased support for their devices. The new technology promises speeds that will be up to 100 times faster, with response times up to 20 times faster.

Yory Wurmser, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said in last week’s “Behind the Numbers” podcast that many phone-industry observers are waiting for Apple to release a 5G iPhone.

“If you’re Samsung or LG or any of these other companies trying to release 5G phones, the iPhone coming to US market with 5G may be what spurs wider adoption and make it the ‘must-have’ feature,” he said.

“If you look at what Apple devices have sold the best, the last few years they’ve tried to expand offerings to the mid-range and those have been most successful in terms of sales. The most recent (SE 2) was the cheapest they’ve had and that has sold really well.”

Apple’s fiscal 2020 third-quarter revenues, ending June 27, 2020, were $59.7 billion, an increase of 11 percent from the same period a year ago, and the release of the cheaper SE2 this past spring was cited as a key driver in that quarterly success.

Ultimately, Wurmser said, 5G “will mean more immersive media, it means better data and more data, and it means more people having phones that can handle all of this stuff as well.”

What Does 5G Mean for Marketers?

With less latency, or data-speed delays, marketing professionals will be able to deliver higher-quality mobile ads and display ads on computers, as well as higher-quality video ads, for their clients, podcast host Johnson noted.

“It makes sense for marketers to start thinking about how they’ll place within these media or how they can use it for their own advertising,” Wurmser added.

He said marketers also should “get their own IT fast enough that they can handle sending out information at 5G.”

“A lot of the servers right now are not built for 5G speeds; I think getting that infrastructure is going to be critical. Also, just linking up different devices. I think one of the impacts of 5G is just getting a much more integrated experience across devices.”

And, he added, “A lot more stuff will happen in cloud. You’ll want to invest in cloud.”

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