LONDON: 5G mobile technology is still a few years away – international standards have yet to be finalised – but its economic impact is expected to be substantial while it also has the potential to transform advertising and marketing, a new WARC report suggests.

The latest WARC Trends Snapshot, What is 5G?, notes that even if the claims being made for the technology – including connections of up to 10 gigabytes per second, one millisecond end-to-end round trips for data to reduce latency – don’t quite match the reality, it will still mark a significant step forward from 4G.

For example, the increase in bandwidth promises the instant delivery of 4K-quality video content, with none of the buffering and delays that so annoy mobile users.

And brands innovating in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will be able to deliver more seamless experiences.

More generally, 5G will enable genuinely real-time, two-way communications between brands and consumers. It will also support the anticipated explosion of connected devices and contribute to the development of connected cities and driverless cars.

While that is the promise, there are some formidable hurdles to be overcome, including the infrastructure investment required to get 5G off the ground – €500bn in Europe alone on one estimate.

And that level of financing means that, initially at least, 5G will be an urban-based technology.

At the same time a new generation of devices and chips will be required since much hardware currently in use will not support 5G services.

That is likely to limit how brands use the technology for several years after its launch, as they will have to strike a balance between their desire for innovation and the size of the audience on 5G.

So a degree of patience will be necessary and they may be better off focusing on exploiting steadily improving 4G capabilities, including LTE Broadcast, which allows the ‘multi-cast’ of high-resolution video on mobile devices.

Marketers may also have to factor new costs into their plans. As networks come under strain from the volume of data required to support self-driving vehicles and the Internet of Things, the concept of net neutrality may have to be revised.

Sourced from WARC