5G is set to transform the way that fans experience sports in both stadiums and at home with 76 per cent of network operators in Europe planning to use augmented reality (AR) technology, supported by 5G, to offer better viewing experiences for fans wherever they are.
According to an Amdocs survey of 100 C-level executives from the world’s largest operators, conducted by Ovum, 82 per cent of European operators are looking toward next year’s Euro 2020 football tournament to get the ball rolling on 5G experiences for consumers. Overall, 94 per cent of European operators plan to trial 5G within sports and eSports venues by the end of 2020.
When it comes to eSports, all European operators surveyed say they plan on supporting eSports in the 5G era – either as tech partners to event organisers (88 per cent), broadcasters of the action (47 per cent), or through eSports team ownership (12 per cent).
“Operators have identified these events as the springboard for rollout of a whole range of new interactive and immersive services,” said Gary Miles, Amdocs CMO. “This will give consumers their first real taste of what 5G can deliver and allow operators to showcase the capabilities of their next-generation networks.
“Expect to see the first of these new services and applications rolled out in conjunction with the 2020 football tournaments in Europe, among other big events in the sports calendar. We will also see operators becoming integral to the growth of eSports with 5G opening the door to future investment and revenue opportunities.”
The only way that operator plans for 5G can go ahead is if 5G devices are created to support the next generation mobile network. 41 per cent of European operators are prepared to subsidise 5G-enabled smartphones, while 35 per cent are open to subsidising 5G-enabled tablets and AR headsets.
“5G is not just a new wireless technology from a network equipment provider, it’s a fundamental transformation of mobile networks, infrastructure and business models,” said Ed Barton, chief analyst for consumer and entertainment at Ovum. “It will drive the creation of new applications and services, which in turn will require new operating and business models, force changes across operator technology setups and emphasising the need to integrate the new with the old. Our discussions with the world’s leading operators prove that it’s already a challenging journey. The industry has two years or less to get it right if it is to hit the ground running.”