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Get Ready for 5G
There was once a time when simply accessing the Internet on a mobile phone was a big deal.

Since then, accessing the web from our devices has become as necessary to quenching our insatiable attention spans as oxygen is to our bloodstream. We can’t fathom waiting rooms at the doctor’s, lines at Starbucks or even idle time at the dinner table without feasting our eyes on mobile content. Soon, this content will be available at quicker speeds and crisper quality than ever before as the wireless networks begin rolling out 5G service.

What is 5G?

Right now, we inhabit a 4G world. The “G” is indicative of “generation,” which helps classify the internet capabilities of your mobile network. Along with a number of technical specifications determined by the International Telecommunications Union, 4G is characterized by attaining certain data speeds. In other words, our mobile internet is fast, but it could be a generation faster.

That’s where 5G comes in. Current estimates suggest the next generation of mobile will clock in anywhere between 100-1000 times faster than the standard 4G pace. Faster speeds will also yield better quality video and sound; streaming with incredible ease instead of suffering through buffer interruptus.

Improved connectivity to smart devices, minimal latency, and untapped potential are the other key expectations of the 5G evolution.

5G is Fast, But How Fast Will it Arrive?

5G won’t be widely available until 2020 or beyond, but the major mobile players – Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile – have plans to roll out the technology piecemeal.

A slew of metropolitan areas like Chicago, Houston and Atlanta will be the first to access 5G across most networks before the full rollout hits.

Advertising Implications

Marketers should be proactive about the upcoming changes. Use this time to game plan and get ahead, so you can hit the ground running once the new generation arrives. The focus should be on taking your digital innovation to the next level because 5G will be a gamechanger.

At the bare minimum, the upgrades will result in more opportunities for advertisers to reach their targets as a faster, more accessible connection means screen time should increase across the board.

As the mobile landscape continues to shift, we predict video usage to rise alongside more widely adapted virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. 5G’s heightened capabilities make these great advertising opportunities and, more importantly, create the potential for unique, previously unthought of digital experiences.

Ultimately, the smoother online experience and amplified internet usage should also bring in more opportunities for data collection. While this will be a boon for data-savvy marketers, it’ll likely feed the need for additional data regulation as well.

Since the switch to 5G will happen in phases, there will be a window of time where advertisers need to straddle the fence. Be fearless, be bold, but consider this as you roll out new initiatives and slowly phase out the older ones.