By Luke Bull

Revolution is in the airwaves. As mobile phone firms begin bidding on the radio frequencies that will host their 5G internet services, technology marketing stands ready to enter a new future.

It’s a future where image – and specifically the moving image – is everything.

Six firms are bidding for slices of the 5G spectrum but the UK Government isn’t expected to have the multi-billion-pound payday it had when it sold off 3G internet frequencies at the turn of the century.

Firms who invest in their digital marketing ahead of the 5G switch-on, however, will be best placed to make a killing when the system goes live on mobiles and tablets.

And once again, while tech will drive the change, content will still be king. We’re not talking about new marketing technology – but about honing what you offer online to lure in customers.

The 5G network, quite simply, will improve mobile internet speeds and make moving all that data around much, much cheaper.

This is a boost for product marketing as it will allow brands to get out a lot more video-based content through the mobile network. So a brand will mean it is able to truly get people hooked on their products while they are on the go.

Restricted data bundles

You see, a lot of people using 4G on their phones will be on restricted data bundles. They don’t want to use it all up watching a video or browsing an all-singing, all-dancing website. They’ll wait until they get home and hook up over their wi-fi, if they remember – and that’s a product marketing opportunity missed.

But once 5G arrives, they’ll be watching those videos on the move. So if, say, one of the technology brands wants to stay ahead of the pack, it will have to make sure its content is doing the maximum work to push its agenda.

Getting a variety of content online is also important to product marketing. Many young people would rather listen to a podcast or watch online videos than read a long piece of writing.

But there’s an appetite among an older demographic for long-form writing and the rich experience of a smart article on, for instance.

5G plays to both these markets - in fact, to all sectors of the market. Think about it – when was the last time you intentionally used a 3G device? The tech moved on, society moved on. Businesses that don’t adapt are left behind.

The other interesting aspect of the 5G spectrum bidding is that it could signal the arrival of a new player in the UK.

EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone are already established players. Connexin is keeping its bid local to Hull and Lincolnshire. But Airspan Spectrum Holdings, a US firm with a big investment in Irish mobile internet, is in the mix too.

A big European expansion

The buzz on the tech blogs is that Airspan is planning a big European expansion.

That kind of shake-up, and the increased competition it brings, would drive down prices and increase opportunity – so once again, business needs to be prepared to take advantage.

A knock-on effect of the 5G switch-on is that it will free up bandwidth for the Internet of Things. So that will mean more of us finally giving in to what the technology brands have been saying is coming - and buying fridges that send a message to our phones when we need milk.

Perhaps more importantly, the Internet of Things could get our cities moving more freely by linking up traffic sensors to traffic control systems, or helping our cars avoid collisions. That means cleaner, greener, safer towns with swifter deliveries – who’d complain about any of that?

Getting our machines talking to each other easily and wirelessly would make our lives simpler in myriad ways. The opportunities that 5G opens up for connected homes truly are outstanding – it could boost energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The 5G spectrum bidding began yesterday but the system isn’t expected to go live until 2020.

Perhaps by then, the 4G network will be working everywhere …

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