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5G – The Next Generation Network Is Here

5G – The Next Generation Network Is Here

Pace is the pin-up word in today’s world. Everything should be speedy, efficient, clear with minimum latency time. And it won’t be inappropriate to say that 5G or 5th Generation best represents that. 5G, the much anticipated future network aims at higher capacity communication network which is faster, denser and provides ultra-high-definition output. In short, better implementation of the Internet of Things.

Going by the predictions, there would be 550 million 5G subscriptions by 2022 and 10% of the world population would be covered by 5G networks. 1

5G in Television and Media

Who can deny the impact 4G has made on media and broadcasting industry? It became the trigger point of television’s changing landscape where it brought television viewing from a television set or our computers to individual mobile interface. It paved the way for huge consumption of mobile videos and helped expand the market for everything be it films, music, news, television shows, or any other form of video content.

5G network aims to surpass 4G standards manifolds in terms of data bandwidth, frequency, technology supremacy, high-quality streaming and reduced network congestion.

  • Disruptions Foreseen in Broadcast Industry

While 5G will provide us world class viewing experience, it could also open the door for some serious industry disruption.

  • Innovative Content

Content consumption will bear a major impact due to huge technical improvements in terms of speed and quality. Consumers will enjoy huge improvements with a significant decrease in download and upload speeds.

Almost zero latency is surely going to feed the impatient DNA of the viewers’. This will also help narrow the gap between quality and speed and live streaming of content and virtual reality content will see an uprise in the market forcing its creators for more innovative, original and creative content.

  • Value Chain Effects

The Internet has made ‘Content its King’ keeping major profit margins towards the content innovators. The onset of 5G is predicted to divert the route towards distributors forcing content providers to pay more for efficient streaming of their content.

  • Consumption Effects

Streaming content has been a winner to date with low costs and inferior technology being the key reasons. 5G bringing a major change in download speed bringing it down to microseconds will make downloaded content more feasible and popular in coming times.2


But there are two sides to a coin. On one hand, it provides an ideal environment for television broadcast with its top class features like enhanced network speed and technology advancements, it also hints at becoming a threat to the standard ways with which we have watched content until now through cable, satellite, IPTV and broadcast providers, market of which is approximately $500 billion. 3

Some of the challenges 5G would bring in are :

  • Out of the box, content has to be offered to leverage the huge shift from contemporary to mobility.
  • Data rates would be something to watch out for as all advancements lead to increase in costs.
  • Stability and consistency will play a major role in the network’s success keeping in mind the continuous increase in the number of users.
  • The efficiency of end-to-end providence will determine the real-time feasibility of 5G network.
  • Huge investments would be required to upgrade the technology and meet 5G standards.

The Future

It is too soon to comment or anticipate the future of 5G Network. If we look backward, each generation which has come up has aimed at fixing flaws of its predecessors. First mobile network in 1980’s was followed by GSM in 1990. 3G arrived at the onset of the century and LTE rolled out in 2010. 4G was introduced to make consuming data a less unpleasant experience. The work is still in progress and if we go by statistics, 4G is yet to be even launched in various parts of the country.

But the trail seems to break here. It seems difficult to think of any major challenge we can put across 5G which is worth such huge infrastructural investments and changes. Right now, 5G is only a concept whose standards have yet to be established. It is likely to take few years to finalize the whole 5G structure. The foundations are being laid with lots of funding coming from EU, South Korea, US, and the UK to build up 5G research facility.

The momentum is surely building up. A super-fast, super-efficient wireless network is all set to make its mark in the media world by 2020.  It promises to provide us the ability to watch television content over a 5G network connection rather than fixed broadband, cable or satellite in its best form. In fact, the conjunction of speed and technological advancements can create an ideal environment for the television market.

The industry knows what it wants. Internet of things, telehealth systems, smart city infrastructure are some of the features set to figure in 5G thinking. What finally forms a part of 5G spectrum, only coming years would tell. 4

Africa and Content Consumption: Rise of the Mobile Continent

Africa and Content Consumption: Rise of the Mobile Continent

Africa’s mobile phone adoption over the last 15 years have been impressive. With around 67 percent, or 1.13 billion population of Africa using mobile phones, it is often referred to as ‘The Mobile Continent’.

According to Informa , the continent has become the second most connected region in the world in terms of mobile subscription. For a continent with more than 50.3 million Facebook users, it goes without saying that a vast majority of the population primarily consume content on mobile phones.

In countries like Nigeria and Kenya, the high rate of mobile phone adoption is bringing significant changes in the lives of the tech savvy population of the continent. What differentiates Africa is, unlike other continent, Africa is a ‘mobile-only’ continent. In Africa, unlike other countries of the world, internet is not another option, but the only option. As the continent still fights for electricity, millions of people experience the internet for the first time on a cellphone screen.

The explosion of mobile devices has given way to a world of possibilities for TV and media consumption in Africa. Users are no more restricted by time or place when it comes to entertainment, but watch their favorite videos or television any time of the day as per their convenience.

A 2015 research conducted by Ericsson reveals that 63 percent of students and 59 percent of young white-collar professionals in Kenya prefer to watch content of their choice on a personal device. Shorter video content is very popular, with about 77 percent users preferring to watch content on the smartphones. The study also reveals that 53 percent of young white-collar professionals are interested in mobile video on-demand.

“Mobile video is particularly prominent in Middle East/African regions, where 72 percent of online consumers report watching video on mobile phones at least once a month, and almost 37 percent say they do so at least once a day,” reports global market research company Nielsen.

The growth of online content industry is further underlined by the production of local content for online consumption. Nollywood, financed at Lagos and filmed in make-shift sets, has become second largest film industry in the world by volume. The industry, with its annual turnover of $500 million supplies content in the form of CDs and DVDs throughout Africa and African communities worldwide.

For example, iROKO Partners, owned by British-Nigerian serial entrepreneur Jason Njoku has six million viewers in 178 countries. Dubbed Africa’s Netflix, iROKO streams Nigerian content in the form of movies and music through its platform.

Taking clue from iROKO’s business model, which is built around ease of access, other local players are also venturing to provide content online. Wabona provides online pay-per-view video streaming service while another South African start-up, Bozza provides a mobile platform for local filmmakers, artists, and entrepreneurs to distribute their content.

According to Alan Knott-Craig, former CEO of free instant messaging application Mxit, African consumers are hungry for online content and are ready to pay for the same. To address the need, Mxit has created a movie portal that allows its users to watch feature-length pieces in five to six parts.

As Africa’s online content consumption grows, broadcasters are focused on African origin content, which amounts to almost 70 percent of the content consumption in the continent. International investors are also becoming increasingly aware of the potential of African content businesses. It is undeniable that online content is a major industry in Africa, and if the bandwidth constraints and data cost are addressed, the continent will be the largest consumer of online media.