5G gathers pace

For home internet services.

There is growing interest amongst consumers for home internet services based on 5G technologies, with one in three households interested in subscribing to these services, according to analyst firm Telsyte.

This is expected to impact on fixed line services as early as next year when 5G services become available.

Telsyte research showed around 15% or 1.4 million Australian households  are currently mobile only and 41% aged 16 to 34 are interested in subscribing to 5G services for the home, given higher awareness and higher levels of living in rental accommodation. The research also found interest in 5G broadband services remain highest amongst those currently using mobile broadband, indicating 5G might be an up-sell opportunity to mobile-only consumers.

5G broadband services are expected to be available in metropolitan areas from Telstra and Optus as early as next year.  But the potential demand of these services is still subject to the cost of 5G internet plans and contractual obligations carriers have with nbn. 5G presents opportunities for mobile providers and fixed line service providers including nbn.

According to Telsyte the short-term opportunity for carriers will be with dual-mode routers that utilise both fixed line nbn connections and 5G to provide a hybrid experience, building on the approach already used by carriers such as Telstra and Vodafone.

However, limited spectrum, massively growing data usage, and potentially high costs for consumers will limit the number of households that might look to go mobile only. This could give rise to more dual-mode routers which will utilise both fixed and wireless networks, using software to manage traffic across either network, having redundancy as well as the ability for lower latency and high burst speeds.

“Fixed and wireless technologies such as 5G can work hand-in-hand,” Telsyte senior analyst, Alvin Lee said. “Most consumers don’t want to think about what technologies are behind their internet access, they just want it to be fast, good value and work seamlessly.”

For nbn, Telsyte believes there is an opportunity to update existing non-metro fixed wireless with 5G as well as using it as an option for upgrading the Fibre to the Node network in the future.

When it becomes available, 5G is expected to be an important mobile service provider (MPS) for selection criteria. Telsyte research found 37% of mobile users will see 5G as important when choosing their MSP, especially if it is not expected to be available from all MSPs initially. Telsyte estimates one third of mobile Services in Operation will be 5G by the end of June 2023 while nearly one third of smartphone owners are showing signs of holding off buying a new smartphone until 5G models become available.

5G mobile services are expected to be available either late 2019 or early 2020, depending on carrier rollouts.

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