NPD Survey: Two Out of Three Consumers Interested in Buying 5G Smart Phone

Two out of three consumers are interested in purchasing a 5G smart phone, according to a report from the NPD Group.

Based on the report findings, iOS users showed higher levels of interest (40% extremely or very interested) than Android users (33% extremely or very interested).

While 5G technology has not yet been widely adopted, the majority of U.S. consumers were aware of 5G and the promise of super-fast data transmissions that enable superior multimedia streaming and enhanced gaming experiences on mobile devices, according to the survey. The latest Mobile Connectivity Report from NPD’s Connected Intelligence found nine out of 10 consumers were aware of 5G networks; however, only 18% had heard of and understand the difference between the 5G network band types such as mid-band or high-band (Millimeter Wave) currently available in the United States.

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Generally, Android users had a higher level of awareness of the varieties of 5G networks currently available, according to NPD. In fact, 45% of Android users compared to 40% of iOS users were aware that there are different 5G network options.

“5G-enabled Android devices have been available to consumers, which may explain their increased awareness of 5G flavors, while iOS users have not yet had the opportunity to upgrade to 5G. Given the stronger interest from iOS users, a 5G-enabled iPhone could help drive adoption” said Brad Akyuz, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence. “On the other hand, the current premature state of 5G networks in terms of speed and coverage will continue to be a barrier in the mass adoption of 5G smartphones. 5G smartphone volumes are poised to increase as networks improve and 5G smartphone prices gradually decrease.”

Verizon Loses 220,000 Fios TV Subs in Third Quarter

The pay-TV subscriber drain is getting bigger and bigger.

A day after Comcast Cable said it lost 238,000 video subscribers in the fiscal quarter, Verizon Oct. 25 disclosed it jettisoned 220,000 Fios TV subs in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30.

The losses underscore ongoing secular changes in how consumers are watching television in the home — notably the rise of over-the-top video options such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, in addition to online  TV platforms such as Sling TV, YouTube TV and AT&T TV Now, among others.

Verizon, which doesn’t have an OTT video play after losing $1 billion in the short-lived go90 mobile app venture, ended the quarter with 4.2 million Fios TV subs. That compared to more than 4.4 million in the previous-year period.

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The telecom is countering a lack of internal OTT features by embracing next-generation 5G and inking a partnership with Disney for the latter”s pending SVOD platform Disney+.

Subscribers to Verizon’s unlimited data plan will get one-year free access to the $6.99 monthly Disney streaming service.

Verizon did add 30,000 Fios broadband subscribers, which was down from 48,000 net additions in the previous-year period. The telecom ended the quarter with more than 5.8 million broadband subs, up from more than 5.7 million last year.

The company added 440,000 mobile phone subs, which was up from 295,000 phone net additions in third-quarter 2018.

In a statement, CEO Hans Vestberg ignored Fios, highlighting instead Verizon’s legacy wireless business and 5G initiatives.

“Verizon continued its momentum in the third quarter by driving strong wireless volumes in both our consumer and business segments, while delivering solid financial results, highlighted by continued wireless service revenue growth, increased cash flow, and EPS growth,” Vestberg said in a statement. “We are focused on our 5G rollout strategy, looking to deploy next-generation networks while enhancing our 4G LTE network. Going into the fourth quarter, we are energized by the strong performance of the business and we are confident in our strategy to drive value for our customers and growth for our shareholders.”

Verizon Giving Away Free Year of Disney+ Streaming Service

In another competitive blow to Netflix, Verizon Oct. 22 announced it would give subscribers with unlimited data plans a free year membership to Disney’s pending subscription streaming service, Disney+.

The agreement includes new Fios Home Internet and 5G Home Internet customers.

Set to launch on Nov. 12, Disney+ will be the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more.

Disney+ claims it will release more than 25 original series and 10 original films and documentaries, including “The Mandalorian,” from executive producer and writer Jon Favreau, and Lady and the Tramp, a live-action remake of the 1955 animated classic.

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“Giving Verizon customers an unprecedented offer and access to Disney+ on the platform of their choice is yet another example of our commitment to provide the best premium content available through key partnerships on behalf of our customers,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement.

The carrier is also working with Disney to incorporate 5G technology to the entertainment industry through Disney Innovation Studios and in the parks.

“The launch of Disney+ kicks off a new era of streaming for The Walt Disney Company, bringing nearly a century’s worth of content from our iconic studios to consumers directly,” Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct-to-consumer & international, The Walt Disney Company, said. “We’re excited to share this moment with Verizon and bring Disney+ to the millions of customers across its award-winning wireless network.”

In tandem with the launch, Verizon becomes the exclusive wireless carrier to offer 12 months of Disney+ to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers.

Verizon will also offer 12 months of Disney+ to its new Fios Home Internet and 5G Home Internet customers.

At launch, Verizon customers can activate their Disney+ subscription and start streaming on a wide selection of mobile and connected TV devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs.

 

More Than 40% of U.S. Households Interested in 5G

More than 33% of U.S. broadband households cite some level of familiarity with 5G and more than 40% of U.S. broadband households are interested in 5G, according to new research from Parks Associates.

The report Technology Market Assessment: 5G Network Services examines several aspects of 5G, including the condition of the mobile market, consumer sentiments toward 5G services and products, service availability, use cases, and competition. It explores the impact of 5G on fixed broadband, wireless services, and includes a five-year forecast for 5G and other mobile data services.

“More than half of U.S. broadband households are unfamiliar with 5G, despite aggressive marketing from mobile service providers,” said Craig Leslie, senior research analyst with Parks Associates. “Limited service availability is impacting consumer awareness; however, once the technology is explained to them, almost half are interested in replacing their fixed-line internet service with 5G home services.”

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Limited 5G availability also means that it will not replace 4G LTE or fixed services anytime soon, the firm predicts.

“With spotty coverage, providers will need to run 4G in parallel with 5G services so there is ‘fallback’ connectivity for areas lacking coverage,” according to the firm.

Providers see the need to offer 5G services, though, as their availability is a significant influencer in service provider selection, even if consumers are unwilling to pay more for 5G, according to Parks.

“Beyond higher speed, consumers are failing to see the value of 5G over their current subscriptions — only 13% of smartphone users are willing to pay higher subscriptions fees for 5G mobile services,” Leslie said. “Operators will need to increase consumer understanding through better communicating 5G use cases and benefits in order to convince them to upgrade services.”

Additional research findings include 31% of U.S. broadband households consider 5G availability to be very important when choosing a new mobile service provider and 20% of U.S. broadband households purchased a smartphone in the first quarter of 2019, down from 40% in the first quarter of 2016.

Survey: U.S. Consumers Cite Video Streaming as Top Use for 5G

The 5G era is set to drive the next wave of growth in video streaming, with 78 percent of U.S. consumers indicating they will expand this activity as they adopt the next-generation wireless standard in smartphones and home-networking solutions, according to a survey conducted by IHS Markit, Digital Orbit.

When asked to name which types of activities they are likely to increase due to the arrival of 5G, consumers ranked video streaming first, ahead of video calling, social media, mobile gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality, according to the survey. As a result, the deployment of 5G will help cause video usage to grow to account for 70 percent of mobile network traffic in 2022, up from 47 percent in 2015, IHS reported.

“The promise of faster video streaming through 5G is generating enormous enthusiasm among consumers,” said Joshua Builta, senior principal analyst for IHS, in a statement. “Interest is particularly high for those younger than 50, with 81 percent of survey respondents in that age range citing video streaming as the top activity for 5G. Consumers are expressing strong interest in video streaming both on smartphones and for home internet services, which are equally supported by 5G.”

Current 4G wireless services already provide sufficient performance to support most types of video content commonly streamed today, according to IHS. As a result, 5G’s largest impact will be felt in emerging areas of the market, such as 4K Ultra High Definition video, according to IHS, as the 5G standard enables 4K on mobile platforms because of its increased capacity and speed. When coupled with the growing demand and supply of 4K UHD content, the proliferation of 5G will help drive mobile consumption of UHD content, according to the firm.

Also, the 5G standard will also be critical to promoting the consumption of general live video, IHS noted. This is particularly true for sports and live events, where lower latency and higher speed and bandwidth are critical.

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In parallel with the trends in the smartphone market, US consumers are expressing intense interest in engaging in 5G video streaming via home internet access, according to IHS. While often regarded purely as a mobile technology, the 5G standard also supports fixed wireless access (FWA) in the home. However, unlike fixed solutions such as DSL, cable or fiber, 5G FWA uses wireless mobile network technology to extend internet access into homes.

Most consumers said they are attracted to 5G FWA by its faster speeds. The average speed of broadband connections in the United States in 2018 was about 35 megabits per second. In contrast, 5G can theoretically operate at up to 1 gigabit per second, although initial deployments will be much slower, according to IHS.

Survey respondents also cited streaming of video, both prerecorded and live, as the most compelling reason to upgrade home internet service. A total of 74 percent of those surveyed named video streaming as the chief motivation for upgrading to 5G in the home.

IHS Markit forecasts that global over-the-top (OTT) video subscriptions will pass the 1 billion mark in 2021, up from 620 million at the end of last year. In 2022, OTT video subscriptions will surpass pay-TV subscriptions.

IHS Markit’s Digital Orbit report summarizes the results of a survey on how consumers perceive 5G and how they intend to use the new technology. The survey was conducted May 22-27, 2019, among 2,031 respondents, 95 percent of whom were U.S.-based. The median age of the survey respondents was 43, and 63 percent lived in urban areas.

WarnerMedia Innovation Lab Becomes Reality with Pending 5G New York Office Construction

WarnerMedia June 17 announced the location and architecture firm for its pending WarnerMedia Innovation Lab New York headquarters — powered by parent AT&T’s upstart 5G wireless network.

The Lab, which aims to address changing consumer media habits creatively and from a marketing/advertising perspective, also announced further details on its partnerships with WarnerMedia Ad Sales and with Xandr, AT&T’s advertising and analytics company.

The 20,000 square foot facility located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, will feature an immersive zone for showcasing consumer-ready experiences visible to the public, flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces, dedicated R&D environments and an open and collaborative modern work space.

“The Lab is more than a technology incubator, but also a dream factory for us to create the wonderment that fans have come to love and expect from WarnerMedia,” Jesse Redniss, GM, WarnerMedia Innovation Lab, said in a statement. “Here we’ll flex the best of WarnerMedia’s creative storytelling capabilities combined with cutting edge technology from AT&T and our partners to deliver experiences that will be talked about for a lifetime.”

WarnerMedia properties include Warner Bros. Studios, HBO, Turner and Otter Media.

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The Lab, which is slated to open in early 2020, will bring 5G experiences to life through exploration and development initiatives, enabling a real-time virtualized collaboration ecosystem across WarnerMedia and the AT&T offerings.

In addition to the New York-based Lab, AT&T 5G initiatives include Warner Bros. in Los Angeles in time for AT&T SHAPEThe Lounge by AT&T in Seattle and WarnerMedia’s Atlanta studios.

“By working across AT&T, we’re able to combine the latest in 5G technology with immersive content experiences and cutting-edge advertising capabilities,” said David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment. “The WarnerMedia Innovation Lab will be a space where developers, creators and visitors will be inspired to push the boundaries of entertainment, all powered by the company that first introduced the U.S. to the power of mobile 5G.”

AT&T Bringing 5G to Warner Bros. Studio Lot

Next-generation 5G mobile wireless connectivity may be more hype than reality at the moment, but that isn’t stopping AT&T from showcasing the technology next month at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles.

AT&T, which owns Warner Bros.’ operating unit WarnerMedia Entertainment, will bring a collection of 5G “experiences and demonstrations,” as well as an industry “thought leaders” to the studio for AT&T Shape, taking place June 22-23.

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AT&T will deploy 5G at the confab, which will ultimately become a permanent fixture and cover the entire Warner Bros. studio facility. Once operational, the mobile 5G connectivity will have the ability to maximize technical efficiencies and give content creators more flexibility to enhance the production experience.

“Partnering with AT&T to implement permanent 5G on the lot will allow Warner Bros. and our production partners the opportunity to explore all 5G has to offer,” Jon Gilbert, president, worldwide studio facilities, Warner Bros., said in a statement.

The interactive exhibits at Shape are designed to let attendees experience the responsiveness and speed of 5G, including the future of road-based travel in an IoT-enabled Airstream Classic travel trailer with “smart control technology” that AT&T is connecting over 5G.

Attendees will also see video gaming on 5G mobile devices, experience immersive entertainment with volumetric video and virtual reality content from Warner Bros.

“Developers, creators and media makers will see 5G technology and entertainment in new ways,” said David Christopher, president of AT&T mobility and entertainment. “By bringing 5G to Warner Bros., and other WarnerMedia properties in the future, we hope to inspire the next generation of creators to unlock the [network’s] full potential.”

Verizon and Google Partner for YouTube TV Access

Faced with no proprietary over-the-top video offerings, Verizon April 23 announced a partnership with Google to bring YouTube TV to Verizon subscribers across all platforms, including Fios TV and pending 5G.

YouTube TV is a standalone online TV service that just raised its monthly subscription price to $49.99 from $39.99.

“As we pave the path forward on 5G, we’ll continue to bring our customers options and access to premium content by teaming up with the best providers in the industry and leveraging our network as-a service strategy,” Erin McPherson, head of content strategy and acquisition at Verizon.

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The partnership affords both wireless mobility and Fios broadband subs to stream YouTube TV. Verizon will also offer YouTube TV promotions to customers across platforms.

“With this partnership, we’re making it simple and seamless for Verizon’s customers to sign up to enjoy YouTube TV on-the-go on their mobile phones or tablets or at home on their big screen devices,” said Heather Rivera, global head of product partnerships at YouTube.

YouTube TV offers cable-free live TV that can be watched on any screen (phone, tablet, TV, computer). It includes more than 70 networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, in addition to cable networks HGTV, Food Network, TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN, FX and on-demand programming.

A YouTube TV membership includes six accounts per household, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR with no storage space limits.

Sprint Calls Out AT&T Over ‘False’ 5G Claims

Next-generation 5G wireless technology continues to get a lot of attention (and hype) — notably as an enhanced distribution channel for mobile video entertainment.

AT&T and Verizon have been among the first wireless carriers offering 5G networks in the country. AT&T last December said it become the first telecom in the United States offering 5G wireless service over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network.

Indeed, consumer awareness of the fifth-generation wireless technology successor has reached mainstream, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Yet, 5G is still more marketing than reality. Availability of 5G-compatible phones to consumers might occur by the end of the year — with mainstream usage on par with 4G LTE years away, according to analysts.

That’s why Sprint is calling foul on AT&T regarding what it claims are false advertising and deceptive acts by the corporate parent to WarnerMedia to confuse consumers.

Sprint, which claims to have 54.5 million subscribers and is attempting merge with T-Mobile, took out a full-page ad in the March 10 edition of The New York Times accusing AT&T of allegedly deceiving consumers into believing that their existing 4G LTE network operates on a much-coveted and highly anticipated 5G network.

A recent survey commissioned by Sprint found 54% of consumers mistakenly believed, based on AT&T’s claims, that the company’s 5G E network is the same as or better than a true 5G network. Another 43% of consumers wrongly believed that if they were to purchase an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on a 5G network.

“AT&T is not offering its customers 5G but is delighted by the confusion they’ve caused with their deceptive ‘5G E’ marketing and attempt to convince consumers that they’ve already won the 5G race,” David Tovar, SVP, corporate communications, at Sprint said in a statement. “We’re not standing for this kind of deception, and neither should consumers.”

Indeed, Sprint filed a federal lawsuit asking that AT&T’s ads be stopped.

“Every carrier – every company – should tell consumers the truth and be held accountable for the promises they make,” Tovar said.

An AT&T representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

 

 

 

 

Verizon Eyeing New Customers, Entertainment Options for 5G

Verizon last October became the first telecom to launch residential 5G network coverage, with rollouts in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento, Calif.

The $70 monthly (after 90-day free trial) service includes the choice of a free Apple TV device with 4K functionality or Google Chromecast device, and 90-days of access to online TV platform YouTube TV or Apple Music.

Verizon contends there is an addressable market of 30 million households for 5G – with about 50% first-time customers to the telecom.

Speaking Jan. 8 at Citi 2019 Global TMT West confab in Las Vegas, Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon Wireless, said early consumer feedback on the rollout is encouraging considering the dearth of 5G-combatible smartphones on the market.

Indeed, Verizon only revealed its first branded 5G smartphone – Motorola’s Moto Z3 – the day before the begin of CES Las Vegas. Samsung is making another one for the telecom.

Dunne said that unlike the challenging Fios pay-TV landscape, 5G promises new connections and content opportunities for creators.

“I think the whole content area will evolve … with developments of new genres of the snacking content, the short format content, which is so natural to the mobility space,” he said.

The executive doesn’t think 5G will necessarily be a lifeline to the existing pay-TV business model. Instead, Dunne believes 5G will enable a new business model that will evolve through a combination of what’s happening in the content space and the way people are accessing connectivity.

“Lots of people won’t have a traditional wireline [pay-TV] relationship, in which case they don’t need to buy 600 channels that they don’t watch,” he said.