What Is 5G? Some Facts and Marketing Implications

5G, which stands for fifth generation (and that’s about as much as most of us know about it), is already generating heated debates online surrounding its utility, the companies that should be permitted to take part in it, and who will benefit the most from it.

Before we start getting into those twists and turns of the hot-take-dominated online conversation, let’s take a look at some brand new research, released just this morning, to understand what 5G is and what it spells for the future of consumer access to mobile communication.

As the next generation in mobile connectivity, 5G should promise smoother data transmission, higher-quality mobile streaming, and more efficient energy usage. And it’s those benefits consumers are excited about, newly available data from Verizon Media indicates, with 72% of surveyed consumers excited about faster data transfer speeds and 57% eager for higher-definition video content.

On the advertising side, 5G offers the potential of sharper location-based targeting and tracking as well as better experiences, supported by those same upgrades in streaming and data infrastructure that consumers are anticipating. Verizon reports that 33% of advertisers are planning for 5G, according to figures sent to Street Fight.

What’s the catch? Industry watchdogs, many of whom are cited in a Verge column from just this week, are skeptical about the extent to which a leap forward in mobile branding will truly change consumer experiences. Verdicts will roll in soon enough—mobile carriers are promising big changes for streaming in a golden moment for video, and marketers will be the first to complain if their pricey video spots are spurring consumers to seek out faster-flowing media.

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.
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