In 5G, connectivity & customer service are table stakes, and not the point

Image by New Africa | Bigstockphoto

5G stories are becoming depressing. In almost every article you read (with some refreshing exceptions) the tale is always one of super speeds creating great solutions. Except these ‘great solutions’ seem to be hidden behind some embarrassed mumbling.

The question is ‘what are these solutions’ and so far they are ‘the usual suspects’ of gaming and AR. 5G should be so much more than that.

We understand that 5G in its initial stages must focus on enterprises for its payback. On paper, this looks good and a great opportunity for telcos who have invested so heavily in the technology. Yet, even in the enterprise space, it is looking increasingly likely that telcos will lose out, again.

Telcos are in a difficult position. They do connectivity, and some do customer service. But they do not do content (again, with one or two great exceptions). With 5G, as with many other technologies they seem to go by the motto ‘build it and they will come.’ Remember the carnage and subsequent recession in the telecoms market when broadband was rolled out using this model?

That telcos do not ‘do’ content has been visibly demonstrated by the stories of AT&T and Verizon offloading their content vehicles (vanity purchases from a decade ago) for an embarrassing percentage of the purchase price. Now they are looking for content in other places.

The answer for 5G – in fact, for any networking technology – is to partner. Link up with the companies who are known for their content and whose marketing departments understand how to promote brands and partnerships in this very different world.

It is one thing for telcos to take to the stage (or screen) and say they are now technology solutions companies. It is quite another to be one.

5G will be a lost and expensive cause for telcos unless they act now. They must figure out what they can bring to the party (speed, yes; customer service, in some cases; data analytics, potentially). Then, with partners whose brand presence and empathetic marketing campaigns they will be able to deliver on the long promised nirvana of hyper-personalisation.

Related article:

South Korea is leading – and disrupting – the emerging 5G world

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