Covid19, News, Technology

COVID-19 Increases The Need For 5G Solutions

Siim Pettai

Siim Pettai, Writer

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced organisations and schools to adopt remote working and studying. Additionally, more people are subscribing to streaming services and accessing content online. This has caused a significant uptick in internet usage, placing big demands on network providers.

The rise in internet demand, to go along with working restrictions and disruption to the global supply chain, has postponed 5G deployment in the short-term. For now, operators are forced to shift their focus from 5G to providing to those affected by the virus. Many operators are stepping up to offer people low-cost wireless and broadband services, as well as network stability.

Increased Demand For The Future

Although COVID-19 will temporarily cause a 5G rollout to slow, the rise in remote working and digital communication methods will only show the need for a faster and more robust network.

The challenge for remote workers has always been finding a reliable internet connection. Working whilst traveling, or from a coffee shop whilst relying on the closest Wi-Fi hotspot can be frustrating. Even if you pay for a high-speed internet package at home, it isn’t always reliable. This is where 5G comes into play. With 5G networks and devices, you can connect from anywhere. There would be no need to look for a hotspot, because the devices have ultra-fast wireless capabilities built inside them.

Besides remote working, there are several other factors that support the adoption of 5G. One of them being, is that more consumers are subscribing to streaming services. According to Forbes, signups for Netflix have risen 47%, whereas subscriptions for Disney+ have tripled. In fact, nearly 20% of British households signed up to an online video subscription service during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Another area that has seen a major uptick is cloud gaming. This type of online gaming allows users to play games without the need for hardware. For both cloud gamers and streamers, 5G would grant access to higher upload and download speeds. A faster network would also allow users to play games from any computer. This would also increase the accessibility of cloud gaming.

Companies Launching Cheaper 5G Devices

Selling smartphones during the pandemic is also a major challenge for manufacturers. In fact, global smartphone sales plummeted 38% in February alone.

However, if people were to upgrade their phones during these times, it would be because of 5G. Yet, high prices for 5G devices will prevent millions of people from switching over from 4G networks.

To respond to this, companies such as Samsung and Xiaomi have begun developing cheaper 5G smartphones. Samsung recently unveiled the Galaxy A71, which is its cheapest 5G phone yet, priced at $599.99. The price tag of the phone is half of what Samsung attached to its flagship Galaxy S10 5G last year, priced at $1299.99. With 6GB RAM and a 64MP camera, the specs of the phone are similar to cheaper mid-range phones. However, the main selling point for the Galaxy A71 is that it’s 5G-enabled.

Change Is On The Way

According to a study by BPI Network, despite the pandemic, 81% of operators still think 5G is moving in line with expectations. “Our latest study indicates that major mobile carriers around the world are on track with their 5G plans, and more expect to begin commercial build-outs in the coming months,” said Dave Murray, director of thought leadership at BPI Network.

It can be said that the pandemic will temporarily put the wider 5G rollout on hold. Yet, the lockdown will also prove the need for higher speed networks and devices. This is because, now more than ever, people rely on connectivity for communication, entertainment and work-related purposes.

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