5G, digital brands and cryptocurrencies highlight 2020’s top consumer services trends

5G, digital brands and cryptocurrencies highlight 2020’s top consumer services trends
5G, digital brands and cryptocurrencies highlight 2020’s top consumer services trends

From the arrival of differentiated 5G to the blockchain-based digital currency, leading data and analytics company GlobalData identifies the top trends in consumer services for 2020.

Emma Mohr-McClune, Service Director at GlobalData, explains: “Last year, GlobalData successfully predicted the crisis in 5G B2C commercial use cases, a new class of direct-to-consumer (D2C) content plays and the emergence of ‘raw broadband’ portfolios, allowing users to plug their own over-the-top (OTT) content into an over-arching carrier content management platform. Our predictions for 2020 once again underline the evolution of market disruption, with key prediction themes revolving around Internet of Things (IoT) leverage, artificial intelligence (AI) deployments, and 5G use cases.”

A differentiated 5G will arrive in late-2020

5G networks are up and running in a number of regions, complete with handsets, hotspots and customer premises equipment (CPE). However, many of today’s 5G networks rely on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) for the radio access network and core: non-standalone 5G.

Standalone 5G is coming in 2020 as a fully virtualized, cloud-native architecture that will enable ultra-low latency services and faster data speeds, opening up genuine avenues for differentiation. In addition, the first 5G-enabled iPhone is expected in September. This is likely to be a milestone moment for the 5G industry targeting a more mass-market opportunity. In addition, mid-tier 5G handsets will arrive this year, although it will still be a long time before we start seeing price levels drop to the ‘value segment’ level.

100% of digital mobile brands launch, learn, and lean-in

Last year, we reported on the launch of a number of new ‘100% digital brands’ appearing in the market, from Orange Flex in Poland, to SingTel’s GoMo, Win by Inwi in Morocco, and By. U in Indonesia. For the most part, these brands are entirely carrier-owned and managed, created to investigate and better understand the challenges and opportunities implicit in a radically new and purely digital go-to-market provisioning model, in which everything – from registration to billing, SIM ordering, plan customization and support – are self-managed from an app interface.

It’s a radical reworking of the entire go-to-market. None of these projects have been overwhelmingly successful to date, but they are proving valuable as a learning exercise for carriers challenged to meet aggressive digitalization goals, and we’ll see more of them in 2020.

The cryptocurrency crunch

While Facebook’s Libra ambitions were essentially dashed in 2019, the fracas that erupted underlined the increasing influence of cryptocurrencies within the global commerce industry. In 2020, this influence will continue to exert pressure on the existing payments infrastructure, and in response, more governments, financial institutions, and regulators will explore their own blockchain-based digital currency initiatives as a countermeasure.

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