5G Update June 2019

By Aaron Barry – Head of Mobile @ Everything Voice

Your go-to resource for 5G in 5 minutes.

1. Race to be 1st…

Vodafone announced first that they will switch on their 5G service on the 3rd July. This was trumped by EE who switched on their (limited) service on 30th May. Clearly the PR of being first is better than the reality of how limited the areas of service are. One of the first 5G broadcasts by the BBC failed during a live news broadcast.

EE switched on 5G on 30th May 2019 in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

Vodafone is switching on 3rd July 2019 in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester.

2. It’s not time to buy – it’s time to plan

With no dates from Three or O2 yet and no dates from Vodafone and EE on when their next stage of switch on will happen, it’s not quite the time yet to buy 5G, but you should be planning how to leverage 5G and what you will need to make it work for your business.

Everything Voice should have access to prototype 5G routers in August so we can start testing 5G broadband services for business customer deployments. 5G IOT devices are expected to arrive on the market in late 2020.

When you can get a 5G service you will witness a world of change but its not quite there yet. However, as we have seen with EE, things can change quickly so you really do need to plan and be ready so you’re on the best footing to benefit and take advantage of any edge windows over your competitors.

3. Commercials

Its early days but current intel is that the networks will charge a small premium to early adopters. The network operators are profit driven so will want to charge whatever they can until market forces push the price down. The early adopters will be in a position of choice between 4G and 5G and with limited availability the networks can charge a premium for a superior 5G solution. However because 5G will be patchy until rolled out, the networks wont want to scare off customers with high prices so expect similar to 4G pricing.  As the service becomes more mature the networks need mass market volume connections to amortise the network investment costs so will sacrifice margin for volume.

Finally – don’t expect unlimited data bundles. Mobile data has always been metered and this is likely to continue so you need to be wary about bill shock, which in 5G world could add up to £100’s in seconds.

Early pricing suggests a range of 50p – £2 per GB, depending on the how much you commit to buying (not dissimilar to 4G). We think the networks should provide large bundle options of 100/200/500/1TB but there is no information yet and clearly the networks are focusing on the consumer market and bundling airtime and devices together, which is a practice we advise against for business customers.

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