Indian network operators are working on and intend to deliver 5G enterprise services to major live eSports and sporting events with the goal being to improve the overall fan experience while also increasing various efficiencies within the stadium.
The research was done by Ovum for Amdocs, the leading software and services provider to media and communication companies, to understand how 5G will transform the sporting world as well as what is needed to drive the technology forward.
According to Indian operators, their main focus is providing IoT (Internet of Things) related services to various tournament organizers to create greater efficiencies within the stadium. The plan to initially improve the overall fan experience is to give these enthusiasts the ability to buy food and beverages from their own mobile devices.
Because of this, operators believe that more individuals will subscribe to 5G to reap its benefits and that will, in turn, boost the average revenue per user. 5G will also drive the mainstream adoption of VR services as well as the popularity of eSports. “75% of Indian operators taking part in the study plan on creating new partnerships with broadcasters and OTT service providers in their search to transform the delivery of sports coverage to consumers.”
“Operators see both short-term benefits in supporting sports with 5G, including growth in subscriber acquisition and ARPU, as well as longer-term benefits, such as enhanced brand appeal among younger demographics,” stated Gary Miles, chief marketing officer, Amdocs. “Furthermore, working with new types of partners on 5G and sports will give operators a vital role in a new digital business ecosystem. Out of a multitude of potential 5G use cases, our research shows that sports and esports is certainly among the most compelling.”
However, most operators acknowledged that while the technology can provide many short and long term benefits, they know there are a wide array of network challenges concerning 5G services for sports and eSports.
All operators feel the main issue holding back the further development and implementation of 5G was the ability to deliver the required level of power and connectivity necessary to support live-streaming HD video. Additionally, to implement and successfully use this new technology, both operational and business support (OSS/BSS) must be available. Partnerships must be forged.
While 5G will bring increased speed while moving data, a reduced latency (meaning a higher response time), and the ability to connect multiple devices at once, it also will come with some significant implementation issues. 5G networks will likely consist of a vast amount of small cells. As the number of cells increases so does the amount of data you can get flowing at the same time. This means there will be an increase in overall speed. One example is a greater possibility for a virtual reality platform that can stream content in real-time. Something that has yet to be accomplished.
However, the problem with these higher frequency small cells is that while they provide the increased data capacity that 5G requires, they also need a more considerable amount of cell towers than that of 4G. 5G data waves are positioned very closely together, so they can only travel a very short distance-approximately 1000 feet. Therefore, multiple small cell towers would be needed within a stadium to be able to try and use 5G. Additionally, the shorter wavelengths have trouble penetrating walls, windows, and even leaves on the trees.
So, to monopolize on the data flowing from the small cells, all operators believe it vital to have ‘multi-domain operators and revenue management systems’ in place to help with both money and system management regarding the implementation and continued growth of 5G services.
“Given the massive investments that operators are pumping into 5G, their ability to monetize 5G to the fullest will be critical,” stated Julian Bright, senior analyst at Ovum’s Intelligent Networks team. “To succeed in that, they need to keep sight of the commercial drivers and priorities when designing, planning and deploying their new networks and services. They also need to ensure their IT environment can support the new architectures, standards, and business models. According to our research, extensive systems upgrade and replacement, as well as reskilling of staff, will most likely be required to manage this exciting, yet complex transition.”
The real purpose of 5G is to generate a global business model where expenses are lowered, and service revenues increase. However, there will need to be a balance between the telecommunications industry and society.
The number of base stations required will be immense. Simply stated, in a 5G future, one will not be able to take a picture without a 5G tower present. Therefore, do not expect anything monumental anytime soon. The actual rollout of 5G will be slow with the first applications including sports venues equipped with high-resolution remote-controlled cameras, fixed wireless access in homes and connected shuttle services in cities. The ‘future of mobility’ is coming…slowly.