The last six months only seem to have taken six years. Many of us have chafed under coronavirus quarantine and have headed out for protests (or tacos, or both), while others remain sequestered. Either way, we’ve been home a great deal of the time, with kids and family, and that’s meant a whole lot of video streaming and online gaming.
That’s good news for the broadband industry, and the party is just getting started. Last year saw the initial deployments of 5G for consumers, but this year will be one of large-scale commercial adoption of the technology. According to the global tech advisory firm ABI Research, 5G-generated revenues for cloud-based entertainment services are expected to skyrocket until at least 2024. By then, 5G will be the driving technology behind revenues of nearly $1.9 billion in cloud gaming (42% of overall cloud-gaming revenues), and some $67 billion in cloud video (31% of overall cloud-video revenues).
Social distancing, quarantines, and school closings have all contributed to the surge in demand for cloud-based entertainment. Across the globe, network traffic has been up an average of 15% or more, with platforms like YouTube and Netflix being major beneficiaries. Thus, network operators and infrastructure providers have ventured toward targeting enterprise use cases in the media and entertainment arenas.
If they’re to succeed in this direction, infrastructure vendors and network operators need to fully embrace a service-based monetizing strategy and depart from a capital expenditure-intensive model, say ABI’s analysts. Should the telecom industry fail in this tactic, they could find themselves losing out to the Google/Amazon/Netflix sorts of large cloud-services providers. It’ll be interesting over the next 12 to 18 months as this dynamic plays out and the (hopefully) post-COVID landscape materializes.