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What Do Millennials Expect From 5G?

Telecom operators will have to seize the opportunity by taking a lead in future proofing their networks by making them 5G ready and giving themselves a chance to reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty and gain the trust of the millennials

Millennials or the generation born between the early 1980s and 2000s have grown in the age of the internet and mobile communications. This group is not just the most prolific when it comes to adoption of new devices and digital experiences but also heavy users of data. They demand a superlative experience every time which places unique demands on telecom networks. In the true sense, millennials are the real digital natives.

Millennials demand better network performance 

In comparison with other consumer segments, the demand for better network performance is much higher amongst millennials.  In fact, the younger ones amongst the millennials have further accentuated this through a heightened demand for mobile video content leading to a shift in video consumption trends.  A recent survey of 14,000 smartphone users in 14 countries revealed that 28 percent of millennials aged 15 to 24 stream on-demand videos for 1 to 3 hours a day, and 17 percent stream for 3 to 6 hours. That is 6 times more than those aged 45 or above.

Additionally, in 12 of the 14 countries surveyed, millennials were more critical of network performance than those aged over 45.  Less than half of the millennials surveyed indicated that they were satisfied with their mobile broadband quality.

As the millennials' purchasing power, expectations and data consumption needs rise, telecom operators will need to strategize on how to match the expectations of this critical, data hungry segment. Telecom technologies are evolving by the day and we are looking at 5G deployments in the near future. With the onset of the 5G era, millennials will be the most prominent adopters and more importantly, will be in their prime years. They are set to play a pivotal part in shaping the future of the telecommunications industry and more specifically, 5G services.

The expectations from 5G
5G carries high hopes and expectations with its potential benefits and capabilities. We have observed in the same survey that 30% Millennials apart from expecting better speed and coverage, look for factors beyond speed and coverage. These expectations include better battery life, high network reliability as well as guaranteed quality.  Currently some of these expectations might be difficult to deliver, but operators will need to factor them in early as they tie in well with the promise of 5G.

Also, video has been driving a massive surge in mobile data traffic levels. In fact, more than 50% of the total mobile data traffic is contributed by video consumptions and distribution; a figure that is expected to increase to over 75 percent by the end of 2023. There is much discussion within the mobile industry community about the rapid development of online video to ever more immersive formats. We also anticipate that Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will further lead to an evolution in how we experience video content.  

Preparing for 5G

The next level of video content will bring with it an increase in requirement of super-fast network speeds with low latency to make some of the more advanced applications and use cases possible. This should pave the way for a transition into 5G and leverage technologies like Network Slicing and Mobile Edge Computing do help deliver the network of the future.

As existing mobile broadband networks improve, and consumers become more aware and exposed to the services that can be further enriched by 5G, expectations will continue to evolve. Telecom operators will have to seize the opportunity by taking a lead in future proofing their networks by making them 5G ready and giving themselves a chance to reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty and gain the trust of the millennials.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
telecom 5g mobile communications


Nitin Bansal

The author is country manager (India), Ericsson

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