For Indians, First 5G Experience To Come From Sports : Amdocs

While there is a sense of uncertainty around the timing of commercial availability and relevant uses cases of 5G in India, a recent report suggests that Indian users may experience the newest technology during sporting events, may be in stadia or event at homes.

Indian fans may not have to wait very long to enjoy enhanced sports fan experiences, says the report that is based on a study conducted by Ovum on behalf of Amdocs. Seventy-five percent of Indian operators plan to trial 5G within sports and esports venues by the end of 2020; all plan to launch commercial 5G services by end of 2021.

The report says that 75% of Indian network operators taking part in the study plan to use virtual reality (VR) and all of them (100%) plan to use augmented reality (AR), supported by 5G, to offer richer viewing experiences to fans, both at the sports stadium and watching at home. Promising speeds up to tens of times faster and lower latency than 4G, 5G opens up the possibilities for new types of entertainment and in-stadium experiences. Audiences could, for example, watch instant replays and 360-degree streams or look up player stats via AR and VR technology, bringing them much closer to the action.

The report says the new technology will also transform the at-home viewing experience of sports events, with 75% of Indian operators planning to offer new multi-screen Pay-TV services. It will improve mobile TV and video quality and increase the range of mobile content available to audiences, across a range of consumer devices and services.

The research surveyed C-level executives from the world’s 100 largest operators, including in India. Half of these, the research revealed, also intend to own a sports team in the 5G era as they look to expand their involvement in the sports ecosystem. This is likely to result in growing investments in 5G connectivity and services at stadiums and large venues.

Fans of esports – professional multiplayer video game competitions – will also experience 5G-supported experiences in the near future. All operators plan to support esports in the new era, either as technology partners to esports event organizers (100%), broadcasters of the action (50%) or with far bolder plans of being an OTT video provider.  Another 25% of operators are looking forward to esports team ownership. Esports is growing rapidly in popularity with viewing metrics, prize money and sponsorship all increasing substantially year-on-year and is being considered for entry into the Olympics as a new discipline for Paris 2024.

In terms of key opportunities associated with supporting sports and esports, 75% of the respondents see subscriber acquisition as the top opportunity followed by increased loyalty (50%) and then proving 5G use cases and benefits (75%).

Consumers wanting to take advantage of 5G will need devices that support 5G. To ensure widespread adoption of this new network technology, all (100%) Indian operators said they were prepared to subsidize 5G-enabled laptops and 75% said they would subsidize 5G-enabled smartphones and tablets.

“It’s essential for operators to find successful use cases for 5G given the investment levels,” said Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer at Amdocs. “Amdocs’ research has revealed that operators see major live sports events as an ideal platform for demonstrating a whole range of new interactive and immersive services. This will give consumers their first real taste of what 5G can deliver and allow operators to showcase the capabilities of their next-generation networks. We will also see operators becoming integral to the growth of esports with 5G opening the door to future investment and revenue opportunities.”

Ed Barton, Chief Analyst, Consumer and Entertainment at Ovum added: “5G is not just a new wireless technology from a network equipment provider, it’s a fundamental transformation of mobile networks, infrastructure and business models. It will drive the creation of new applications and services, which in turn will require new operating and business models, force changes across operator technology setups and emphasizing the need to integrate the new with the old. Our discussions with the world’s leading operators prove that it’s already a challenging journey. The industry has two years or less to get it right if it is to hit the ground running.”

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