How is consumer 5G doing so far?
With the rollout and commercialisation of 5G consumer tariffs in 2019, it is still early days in terms of seeing new 5G supported services being developed and launched. The most visible services today are currently in areas such as video, gaming, VR and AR. All operators are still in the process of migrating the bulk of their customer base from 3G and 4G to 5G. SK Telecom is one of the few operators that expect 50% of their handset subscribers to be 5G customers by the end of 2022.
Elsewhere 5G customer base penetration varies by market. For example, EE and Deutsche Telekom have 5G penetration rates of 19% and 29% while approximately 6.3% of AIS Thailand subscribers are 5G customers and 4.3% of Singtel subscribers are 5G users.
In this competitive and macro economically challenged environment (with now rising inflation), operators remain challenged in sustaining and growing ARPU as we show in the graphic below. In fact, out of the five operators shown below, only Orange France has maintained a stable ARPU in recent times. This would indicate that operator approaches to promoting and selling 5G connectivity on its own may not offset or grow ARPU for all operators and new approaches towards selling 5G connectivity and new 5G advanced services are needed to re-invigorate service revenues.
Below we outline elements of the 5G consumer propositions currently promoted by Orange France, EE UK, Deutsche Telekom, Singtel Singapore and AIS in Thailand.
Source: STL Partners
Orange France launched 5G in December 2020 and currently covers over 1,100 municipalities of metropolitan France. The operator offers consumers very generous 5G plans (compared to 4G tariffs) with inclusive data ranging from 120GB to 200GB, the ability to connect multiple devices anywhere and tethering from the handset. From October 2022, consumers can also enjoy 5G roaming in Spain, Switzerland, and/or Luxembourg.
5G-enabled phones to take advantage of the Orange 5G network
Orange France offers a wide range of 5G-enabled phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, and the Xiaomi 12. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3, for instance, has two different prices: €989 with a €200 deferred repayment if a customer is on a 5G tariff offering (as seen in figure 1), or the customer pays €1,799 for the handset outright without the 5G tariff offering.
Orange France and Samsung offer a deferred repayment/reimbursement policy for customers who purchase select Samsung phones. Samsung will reimburse Orange France 5G customers up to €200 euros if they buy a Galaxy Z Fold3 5G phone, Galaxy A53 5G/Galaxy A33 5G phone, or Galaxy Buds2. Customers are also eligible for trade-in bonus of up to €150 for their old phones when purchasing a new 5G handset.
Customers purchasing a new 5G tariff subscription before 1 June 2022 can also receive a €15 monthly discount for 12 months. The offer applies to select 5G 120GB, 130GB, or 200GB tariffs. The 120GB plan is a non-binding commitment, while the 130GB and the 200GB plan are binding 24-month contracts. The 120GB plan costs €20.99 per month for the first 12 months and then €32.99/month thereafter. The 130GB plan costs €29.99/month for the first 12 months and €44.99/month thereafter, while the 200GB plan costs €49.99/month for the first 12 months and then €64.99/month.
Orange 5G mobile tariffs
Source: Orange France
Unlimited Video Gaming Services
Orange France offers unlimited video gaming services as part of its 5G consumer propositions. Customers get unlimited access to over 250 games with a Video Games Pass, which is free for the first month and then costs €14.99/month thereafter. The Video Games Pass allows internet, open (internet, TV, mobile) and mobile-only consumers to play anywhere without a console, directly on Orange TV, on PC/Mac, tablet and mobile device. Customers can play with different game controllers like PlayStation 3 or 4 or Xbox 360 or Xbox one. Controllers vary in cost; the Nacon Cloud Gaming controller is €39.99 and the Xbox Series Controller + MOGA (mobile gaming) Clip is €64.99, both with free shipping, Video Game Pass compatibility, and Bluetooth connectivity. Both controllers come with a 2-year legal guarantee for repairs or exchange, including the digital elements integrated into the device itself.
Orange France also offers a Mobile Game Pass where consumers can download unlimited mobile games with a €2.99 weekly subscription. Mobile games are available on both Android and iPhone and users can enjoy a variety of games free from ads, contract commitments or in-app purchases. To play, customers must access the free Orange games application from the games website or download the Orange Games app available on Android and iOS.
Orange’s gaming propositions
Source: Orange France
AIS customers enjoy the fastest 5G speeds in Thailand according to Opensignal which found average download speeds of 220 Mbps – much faster than its competitors. AIS 5G offers customers services like Disney+ Hotstar, YouTube Premium, Google One, and AIS 5G Play VR.
AIS 5G postpaid proposition
Source: AIS Thailand
AIS content and service features
Disney+ Hotstar is a streaming platform that offers over 100,000 hours of TV content and movies across nine languages, bringing together Hollywood movies and content from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic. There are special packages for AIS 5G customers only, costing a monthly subscription of THB 99 ($2.90) and a yearly package of THB 499 ($14.50) ending on 31 May 2022.
AIS PLAY packages for AIS mobile customers include PLAY Premium and PLAY Premium Plus. The PLAY Premium package starts at THB 19 ($0.55) on the first month and THB 199 per month ($5.80) thereafter. The PLAY Premium package comes with six months free Disney+ Hotstar, On Demand movies and cartoons, VIU Premium and beIN Sports Connect. The AIS PLAY Premium Plus has the same benefits as the Premium Package but with an added AIS Karaoke App. The karaoke app is exclusive to AIS customers and allows them to listen to different kinds of music, from Thai and Korean to pop, rock, and indie. There are also specific packages for customers who only want the Karaoke app, ranging from THB 19 ($0.55), with 300MB of data and speeds of 512 kbps, to THB 37 ($1.10), with unlimited data and speeds of 4Mpbs. Overall, AIS Play Premium Plus package costs THB 29 per month ($0.84) for the first month and THB 299 per month ($8.70) thereafter. It also comes with 12 months free access to Disney+ Hotstar.
AIS PLAY packages
Source: AIS Thailand
Google One is a subscription plan that offers its users additional cloud storage to use across Google’s portfolio of services, such as Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos as well as automatic phone backup. Customers get access to Google experts for all things Google, from questions on products to personalised human assistance via live chat and email. The Google One subscription includes exclusive extra member benefits like Google Play credits, cash back on Google products, and special rates on the AIS 5G Max Speed package, with storage space of 100GB. If using an Android device, customers also benefit from automated mobile backups that securely store all your important data like personal photos, videos, and contacts in the Google cloud. Should a customer damage or lose their phone, the automated backup system will enable customers to transfer data from one device to another easily via the cloud. Customers can also invite up to five family members to Google One, making it easier to store and share family data. Customers who register for a package costing THB 699 ($20.40) or more, get free Google One access for the first six months. Those who opt for a package costing less than THB 699 ($20.40), get free Google One access for the first three months. Once the three- or six-month period is over, the cost for Google One is based on data usage from the customer’s chosen package.
Source: AIS Thailand
YouTube premium is a subscription service that allows users to watch videos on YouTube without ads, play videos in the background, and to download them to view offline. AIS 5G monthly customers get free YouTube Premium for four months on any package costing THB 699 ($20.40) or more. AIS Thailand offers this on postpaid 5G Max Speed packages. Customers subscribing to AIS 5G Max Speed packages under THB 699 ($20.40) get YouTube Premium free for three months.
Source: AIS Thailand
AIS 5G Play VR offers consumers the ability to watch VR video content like Thai music videos, performance videos like Moon’s illusion Magic Show and education videos on the Phaya Thai Royal Palace. AIS 5G Play VR is an application that contains the VR content on a customer’s smartphone, while it is the AIS 5G VR Port that offers customers the actual VR experience. Customers on the AIS 5G Max Speed THB 1,199 package ($35.00) or more get AIS 5G Play VR for 12 months and the 5G VR Port for free. For subscriptions costing less than THB 1,199 package ($35.00), customers get the 5G VR Port at a discounted rate of THB 550 ($16.00), and AIS Play VR for 6 months, while the standalone cost of the VR Port is THB 690 ($20.00) without any package. VR music events give customers the ability to view and enjoy music as if they were on stage or at the event itself, with 180- and 360-degree camera views. The VR technology allows customers to have exclusive access to content such as K-Pop idols, and travel all over the world viewing different cities like Athens and Barcelona. Customers can subscribe to AIS 5G Play VR without the 5G Max Speed package; the standard cost is THB 199, but it is currently free for AIS customers until 31 December 2022.
Other 5G benefits, as part of the Max Speed package, include AIS 5G Play AR and 5G cloud gaming. Play AR uses a 3D volumetric camera, which refers to technology that captures a three-dimensional space, environment or object and digitises it, thereby creating the augmented reality. Play AR is only included in 5G Max Speed postpaid packages costing THB 699 or more, with a minimum duration of six months. 5G cloud gaming is also part of 5G Max Speed packages costing THB 699 or more for six months. AIS Thailand also offers both cloud gaming and AIS 5G Play AR as a service without subscribing to the 5G Max Speed package; cloud gaming costs THB 55 ($1.60) per week or THB 299 ($8.70) per month, while the AR subscription is free until 31 December 2022 but usually costs 199 THB.
AIS 5G Play VR and the 5G VR Port
Source: AIS Thailand
AIS 5G Play VR offers consumers the ability to watch VR video content like Thai music videos, performance videos like Moon’s illusion Magic Show,and education videos on the Phaya Thai Royal Palace. AIS 5G Play VR is an application that contains the VR content on a customer’s smartphone, while it is the AIS 5G VR Port that offers customers the actual VR experience. Customers on the AIS 5G Max Speed THB 1,199 package ($35.00) or more get AIS 5G Play VR for 12 months and the 5G VR Port for free. For subscriptions costing less than THB 1,199 package ($35.00), customers get the 5G VR Port at a discounted rate of THB 550 ($16.00), and AIS Play VR for 6 months, while the standalone cost of the VR Port is THB 690 ($20.00) without any package. VR music events give customers the ability to view and enjoy music as if they were on stage or at the event itself, with 180- and 360-degree camera views. The VR experience allows customers to have exclusive access to content such as K-Pop idols. Users can also experience traveling all over the world, viewing different cities like Athens and Barcelona, through the VR technology. Customers can also subscribe to AIS 5G Play VR without the 5G Max Speed package; the standard cost is THB 199, but it is currently free for AIS customers until 31 December 2022.
Other 5G benefits, as part of the Max Speed package, include AIS 5G Play AR and 5G cloud gaming. Play AR uses a 3D volumetric camera, which refers to technology that captures a three-dimensional space, environment or object and digitises it, thereby creating the augmented reality. Play AR is only included in 5G Max Speed postpaid packages costing THB 699 or more, with a minimum duration of six months. 5G cloud gaming is also part of 5G Max Speed packages costing THB 699 or more for six months. AIS Thailand also offers both cloud gaming and AIS 5G Play AR as a service on their own; clouding gaming costs for THB 55 ($1.60) per week or THB 299 ($8.70) per month, while the AR subscription is free until 31 December 2022 but usually costs 199 THB.
Singtel launched 5G services in September 2020 with its 5G non-standalone (NSA) network. In May 2021, it launched its 5G Standalone network, and now promotes advanced content rich services such as Bookful, Melody, and RiotGo.
Bookful is a digital augmented reality (AR) reading app for children aged ten and under. The books are animated and characters, such as Peter Rabbit, are brought to life through AR and 3D animations. Bookful includes popular child friendly titles like Barbie, Sesame Street, and Dinosaur Days. Select Singtel postpaid and SIM-only customers can subscribe to Bookful. The service costs SGD 8.90 ($6.50) per month without a contract. 5G customers (subscribing to XO plans 68 or more) get three months free while postpaid (4G) customers on select tariffs can qualify for a one- month waiver.
Melody is a virtual reality live music streaming service. Customers can watch shows by global artists like Imagine Dragons and Kelly Clarkson, as well as live music experiences from their phone or headset. The service is free for the first three months for Singtel postpaid mobile customers on a 5G subscription then costs SGD 8.90 ($6.50) per month with no contract requirement. Non-5G customers pay SGD 8.90 ($6.50) per month, with the first month free.
RiotGO (Riot Games)
RiotGo is an exclusive gaming bundle that Singtel offers its consumers giving them access to in-game content every month (free for the first three months). Customers receive data-free gameplay for mobile games such as League of Legends: Wild Rift. Riot Games League of Legends is an online multiplayer battle video game that operates globally on cloud-based virtualised live-production workflows. RiotGO is available to Singtel postpaid mobile customers and SIM Only plans. Both 5G and non-5G customers pay SGD 6.90 ($5.00) per month for the service. However, non-5G subscribers get the first month free, while 5G customers get the first three months free
Singtel also offers customers RiotGO+. This is the same as RiotGO, but RiotGo+ subscribers receive an extra 1GB of data for Riot Games. Non 5G RiotGO+ customers get one month free then pay SGD 9.90 ($7.20), while 5G subscribers get three months free then pay SGD 9.90 ($5.70). Both RiotGO+ subscriptions are also without contracts.
Exclusive 5G phones
EE’s latest smartphone tariffs include a range of smart benefits which are not entirely exclusive to 5G. These smart benefits include Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade (with an offering 180 mobile games), BT Sport Ultimate, and Video Data Pass. Other promotions bundled to EE 5G smartphone and tariff plans include limited period subscriptions to YouTube Premium and the Xbox Game Pass. STL Partners May 2021 report Monetising 5G with consumers: what are the options? highlighted these 5G tariff benefits.
EE offers a 5GEE home router broadband service, which enhances the customers’ gaming experience by improving connectivity and data transmission. To buy the 5GEE home router, customers can choose the 500GB 5G data plan or the unlimited 5G data plan. Both are 18-month contracts, with a £50 upfront cost. The 500GB plan then costs £45 a month, while the unlimited 5G data plan is £50.
The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a gaming add-on costing £10 per month that comes with an Xbox Live Gold gaming subscription, offering over 100 games with new games added every month. The exclusive Xbox bundles include the Xbox Series X Gaming Bundle from £31 per month and the Xbox Series S Gaming Bundle from £21 per month. EE offers these benefits to 5G mobile customers and 5GEE home broadband customers. It also includes the Xbox Gaming Pass Ultimate in the Fibre Max 500 or 900 plans, with up to 20GB mobile data boost for fibre customers with an EE 5G phone plan.
5G home router
In June 2021 EE also launched two Gaming on the Go Pit Stops in two 5G locations (Brighton seafront and Liverpool Royal Albert Dock) to promote the release of its new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate add-on. The Pit Stops are custom-built benches that allow EE 5G customers to make full use of the 5G network through uninterrupted gameplay and superfast gaming chargers. The aim is to help gamers return to outdoor gaming, as the operator cited three quarters of gamers in 2020 had gamed outside of their home, with a fifth doing so while also on their mobiles. Apple Arcade is also one of the Smart Benefits available (to Apple iPhone Full Works customers), worth £4.99 a month offering 180 free games with no advertising and no in-app purchase.
Exclusive Xbox bundles
BT Sport Ultimate App
The BT Sport App uses Augmented Reality (AR) across Apple’s 5G iPhone range. Since October 2020, the app comes with features such as Watch Together (with three other friends); 360-degree camera angles with pinch and zoom options; Stadium Experience – an AR experience of select stadia areas such as dressing room, tunnel and dugout; Match Day Live – AR layer of team line-up, formation and in-game statistics, Manager Mode – adding further real-time stats such as mini-map tracking of team formations, and player speeds.
BT sport ultimate
5G Edge XR
BT and EE aim to bring further 5G extended reality (XR) innovations to live sports and performing arts through its 5G Edge XR project, which prototypes interactive real-time mixed reality content overlays for smartphones, tablets and VR headsets. The use cases include live events such as rugby, boxing, MotoGP, dance/music/theatre, and football. BT Media and Broadcast TV also support outside broadcast (OB) services which use 5G and edge connectivity to deliver live video feeds of events to TV broadcasters. For example, the XR Rugby broadcast overlay features include game data overlaid onto players, ball trajectories, gain-line visuals, kick distances, possession data and alternative camera viewpoints. Other features include game commentary from supporters, localised stadium advertising and route-finding information to the stadium.
5G Edge XR
Source: 5G Edge-XR
Parallel hybrid 5G-powered music event
In summer of 2021, EE and Beatport (online music store) joined together to stream live concert DJ sets from various music venues in city locations like Liverpool and Manchester. Travellers have the option to attend the event or watch the live stream from the 5G powered night club.
Beatport and EE present parallel, the UK’s first 5G event
Deutsche Telekom (DT) postpaid customers can purchase 5G phones both with and without a fixed contract. 5G tariffs such as Magenta Mobile S start at 6GB €39.95 per month on a 24-month contract term. Inclusive benefits include EU roaming and HotSpot Flat Rate. Other benefits include StreamOn Gaming and StreamOn Music (for free) plus Apple TV+ (3 months free). Other tariffs such as Magenta Mobile M 12GB cost €49.95 per month on a 24-month contract, with the same benefits offered. DT recommend the Magenta Mobile L tariff with 24GB inclusive data at €59.95 per month. Benefits include Apple TV+ (free for 3 months), StreamOn Gaming, StreamOn Music&Video, and StreamOn Social&Chat (all for free). The most expensive tariff is Magenta Mobile XL with unlimited data for €84.95 per month, which includes all the same benefits as Magenta Mobile L. All tariffs include a Disney+ by Telekom option free for 1 month. Additional options with DT’s 5G postpaid tariffs include Disney+ and Apple TV+.
Offerings with MagentaMobil
Hybrid wireless connections
Since 2014, Deutsche Telekom (DT) has been offering MagentaZuhause with hybrid based on LTE (4G). Now, DT is launching a hybrid fixed access and mobile access 5G broadband solution with its Speedport Smart 4 router. As DT highlight “the difference between hybrid 4G and hybrid 5G is that the antenna modules for receiving the mobile signal are no longer installed in the router, but in an external unit – the 5G receiver. This is because the higher 5G frequencies hardly ever get inside the building and the received signal is therefore too weak for high-performance transmission”. The Speedport Smart 4 is a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) router that becomes hybrid-enabled when connected to an outdoor 5G receiver. This hybrid combination provides more bandwidth and a more stable home network which act as a back-up if the fixed service connection drops, or in areas where fibre connectivity is yet to be rolled out. DT has not yet decided on pricing for the 5G receiver. The operator is currently giving up to 800 customers the opportunity to partake in a field test where participants can obtain an out-door 5G receiver free of charge until August 2022. Qualifying customers must already have an existing DT fixed-network line with a MagentaZuhause (Mobile Home) rate plan and 5G reception. The cost of the Speedport Smart 4 is €5.95 as part of the ‘Smart home network package’, or customers pay a one-time fee of €169.99.
Hybrid 5G connection diagram
Source: Deutsche Telekom
Virtual and augmented reality
Source: Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom has been experimenting with VR and AR for entertainment in areas such as air hockey and basketball. Customers can play AirHockey on a virtual table three metres long in an AR environment on their phone. To do so, they must use an AR marker (which is an image or object that players create through an AR mobile app) to superimpose the AR features. Customers then open the game app, create a game session, and connect the two players’ devices together. Some AR experiences may require virtual reality glasses to immerse the customers in the experience. Customers can also partake in AR basketball simulation on their smartphones. If both players have a 5G smartphone, they can place a virtual basket wherever they want and use their smartphones to throw the ball into the basket. Through AR glasses like NREAL, DT also enables customers to watch the news over a 3D projection, while VR glasses allow customers to experience 360 concerts with MagentaMusik.
5G cloud gaming
Source Deutsche Telekom
DT launched its cloud gaming service, MagentaGaming, in 2020. Customers could game on the 5G network, resulting in a user gaming experience that paralleled consoles like PlayStation or Xbox. However, in February this year, DT discontinued MagentaGaming cloud gaming service and now offers StreamOn Gaming, a service that allows customers to play video games of other companies like NVIDIA GeForce NOW, with zero rating of inclusive data. This is not explicitly a 5G service.
Live video productions
In partnership with the German TV/media group RTL Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom (DT) is testing the production of live video content in their 5G standalone network through network slicing technology. Consumers can use the virtual network to broadcast data-intensive events like concerts, football matches, or any other live action environment.