Monday, May 11, 2020

Converting to 5G: How carriers can win subscribers over to the upgrade


As 5G begins its roll out, carriers are preparing to rally their subscribers and get them excited about all 5G has to offer. Great new network, great new devices – it could be as heady a combination as peanut butter and chocolate, if done correctly. 

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But doing it correctly means new marketing challenges. Carriers need to think about what their customers want versus mimicking what their competition is doing. With 5G will come new services where speed to market and adoption rate will be critical. By solely relying on the network, carriers will be missing out on an opportunity to drive meaningful new revenues. By leveraging the device, however, carriers can create a marketing engine to smartly promote their 5G network and services.

From 4G to 5G

Reaching and engaging subscribers with targeted value propositions will be critical to success. However, not everyone will really care about the “cool factor.” The benefits need to be tangible, meaningful and legitimately useful if customers are going to be wooed over to a new device, a new network and a renewed subscription. 

Take a second and consider the ways that 4G changed everything for us, for example, streaming video, podcasts, music everywhere and shopping with the swipe of a finger. Suddenly, using a phone was easier than using a desktop, a TV or walking into a store. 4G allowed us to really experience the potential of our smartphones. Screens got bigger and brighter; processors got faster. We were able to do more, including making payments with our phones and sharing our high-res photos on Instagram in seconds. 4G was revolutionary.

5G and choice overload

5G will bring us even more benefit – and there is a chance for it to be the game-changer carriers are looking for when it comes to mobile media. While carriers have been trying everything to get a leg up on media giants like Google and Facebook, the reality is that their 4G networks helped create those giants. If carriers approach 5G without thinking bigger, their 5G networks will simply enable tomorrow’s mobile media giants and leave carriers, again, searching for answers.

Carriers, however, do have a secret weapon: their ability to influence what happens on the device. In the pre-5G world, people already own smartphones that supply them with a myriad of choices. With the faster loading and faster streaming world of 5G coming, consumers are undoubtedly going to be faced with the problem of “choice overload” – which means the winners are going to be determined by who can get their content in front of subscriber’s eyes first. 

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Content discovery matters

It all comes down to content discovery. Paradoxically, 5G will actually make it harder for people to consume content; it certainly makes the delivery of content faster, but it doesn’t speed up the decisioning process. Helping users discover truly relevant and timely content will be a valuable service in this environment. 

Which begs the question: all eyes have been on Apple’s new shiny objects, but what is actually changing on the device front? Is anything really new? As the device increasingly transforms the ways in which people consume content, there ought to be a phone that is capable of highlighting the new benefits, features and opportunities to those on 5G, those who will soon have the option for 5G, and those who might not have 5G for a while. “One phone to rule them all,” as it were.  

Assuming that the market will soon be flooded with 5G-ready phones, let’s consider what that ideal handset might look like. First, let’s keep in mind that users check their phones up to 80 times a day, and we know that 47 percent of the time, users unlock their phones with no particular app in mind. 

Carriers can leverage this knowledge and use dynamic content discovery to not only keep users engaged with relevant content, but also to encourage them to upgrade. It seems like a small improvement, but it’s one that can make a tremendous difference in the subscriber experience, improving it for both the user and the carrier. Think about it: 

  • While 4G users who live in areas that offer 5G service are getting their news or social updates, they can also be shown messages relating to services available to them, including 5G promotions.
  • 5G users can unlock their phones and access 5G-specific experiences, including VR- or AR-enabled content, apps and services available only on (or enhanced by) 5G.
  • Users with 5G-capable phones who don’t live in areas with 5G service can receive updates about when service will become available, as well as the same for 4G users who will soon have access to a 5G network.

These are just a few examples, but better content discovery tools make it much easier for consumers to find relevant content without having to wade through multiple apps, loading times and searches. It helps reduce that choice overload, while giving carriers better opportunities to engage with subscribers. 

As 5G rolls out, content will load at lightning speed – and as more and more providers offer rich, streaming content, consumers could easily become overwhelmed. Frictionless content discovery tools that serve up relevant, personalized content experiences will be incredibly valuable. Subscribers will be able to find that engaging article or video the second they unlock, and carriers will have the opportunity to message them about upgrades to services and devices in ways that resonate. Better content discovery tools can help both users and carriers make the most of 5G.

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