It is unlikely that many people have yet heard of the first major update to 5G, called Standalone 5G, which is an increasingly common component of all carriers’ 5G networks.
However, this is no surprise, as a study by leading data and analytics company GlobalData reveals that operators don’t seem to know how to market this new phase of the technology to their customers.
The study by GlobalData Technology which involved a July 2022 audit of around 30 standalone 5G commercial deployments worldwide, concluded that although operators are keen to flag the adoption of standalone 5G in general marketing messages—largely focusing on the improved network quality and capabilities for enterprises—the number of standalone 5G references within consumer 5G service portfolios are few and far between.
Emma Mohr-McClune, Service Director at GlobalData said, “The lack of effective standalone 5G promotion is a real problem for the future of 5G monetization.
“Standalone 5G will be a vital requirement for a lot of the more exciting 5G use cases, from autonomous devices to commercial augmented and virtual reality.”
The research found that there were a few exceptional cases of standalone 5G marketing and branding, but many operators marketed standalone 5G very similarly to how operators have been marketing non-standard 5G for years.
Mohr-McClune added, “The few exceptional cases—in Singapore, but also in Germany and elsewhere—make for fascinating study. In the future, we could see more operators position standalone 5G as greener, safer, and more reliable than future generations of wireless technology, but the current industry is still waiting for signature use cases to give the upgrade meaning to consumers.
“In the meantime, we believe that most operators will focus on marketing the technology to the business sector, where there are more immediate and distinctive use cases emerging.
“In the Enterprise sector, it’s an entirely different story. Standalone 5G enables enterprises to set up their own, closed Private 5G networks, to better manage connectivity in ultra-connected working set-ups, such as ports and mines–or even ‘slice’ the network for prioritized levels of service for mission-critical operations.
“The benefits, use cases, and return on investment (ROI) are far clearer. However, in selling standalone 5G to consumers, operators are going to have to make sure they don’t repeat the same promises they spun out for non-standalone 5G, or risk appearing to contradict themselves.”