As part of my recent chairing of the broadband conference at CommunicAsia for the Pacific Telecommunications Council, I made a couple of short presentations on why I believe internet of things and 5G are so important, and coming so fast.
It was a simple argument, if not immediately obvious in a region where, in many markets, the notion that mobile internet access is “mature” is laughable. In fact, in many markets, the sheer volume of subscriptions still is growing, and therefore voice and text messaging revenues still are climbing.
A longish story made very short, I had to argue that even if market saturation is not something immediately visible, eventually, even the fastest-growing markets will run out of potential customers.
At some point, every human who wants to buy and use all manner of mobile and communication services, already does so. And as one might inelegantly put it, consumers are not going to spend 10 times more on what service providers have to sell, in the connectivity services area. So “selling more to each customer” might help, but will not fundamentally change the fact of market maturity.
So it was–I think–a bit startling to argue that, despite those present favorable trends, growth in all those areas (mobile subscriptions, voice revenues, text messaging revenues, mobile internet access) eventually will reach saturation, then decline. But people seemed to get that argument.
Put simply, the reason 5G is coming so fast in the developing markets is that we simply have run out of ways to make more money on 4G. Specifically, 5G means support for internet of things, which means new services and connections for machines, not people.
In other words, as fixed network or mobile service providers, we eventually run out of things to sell to humans.
People seemed to get that. Which I think means they also “get” why internet of things is deemed so important.