India may get its first experience of 5G mobile network at sports events, so suggests a report.
Nothing to be surprised about. Few would believe, a cricket field was the post for mobile phones to arrive in India. It was a sports event in India, way back in mid-1990s, when the nation was first introduced to the cordless devices what we know as mobile phones now. An exhibition game between select XIs of the West Indies and India at the old Ferozeshah Kotla ground was used to introduce the cordless, handheld mobile phone system.
Umpires on the field carried a mobile handsets each to interact with the referee and the scorers. Nearly 25 years later, the device is banner even in the team dressing rooms.
Back to the current story. The Indians may also have their first date with the new-era high speed 5G network at a sports field.
According to research commissioned by Amdocs, all network operators in India plan to offer augmented reality services over 5G in support of sports events, bringing fans closer to the action
The 5G will transform the sports experience for Indian fans in stadiums and at home, according to research conducted by Ovum for Amdocs, a leading provider of software and services to communications and media companies.
Almost 75% of Indian network operators taking part in the study plan to use virtual reality (VR) and all of them 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 5G 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. 5G 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 (50%) 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.
Indian fans may not have to wait very long to enjoy enhanced sports fan experiences. 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 5G will give eSports a digital upgrade. Fans of eSports – professional multiplayer video game competitions – will also experience 5G-supported experiences in the near future. All (100%) operators plan to support eSports in the 5G 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.”