This afternoon my wife received a text message from Telstra (yes actually Telstra) with a pretty neat new offer. The SMS reads:
Great news, we’ve added 5G access to your mobile number XXXXXXXXX for 6 months at no extra cost. We’ll be in touch before the end of 6 months to notify you on how to keep your 5G access.
Wondering how your speed is performing? test your mobile connection and speed performance before it ends here http://www.speedtest.net/apps/android Your data allowance will not be impacted by this test.
Marking genious or is 5G adoption in trouble?
Ok so this is really interesting, there is a couple of ways to interpret this move by Telstra. The first I want to explore is the possibility that some marketing genius at Telstra understands human psychology and came up with the idea of offering a trial for 6 months to get you hooked on the faster 5G speeds, making it near impossible to give up once the end of the trial period arrives.
For the cost of an extra coffee a month, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to convince people to accept, particularly when I think back to any internet speed increase I’ve had in the past, be it at home or across mobile generations.
So the second option is that Telstra has reviewed their 5G uptake rates and seen an issue. They’re spending millions of dollars rolling out 5G and the customers better move to it (and hopefully pay extra) to ensure the payback to Telstra and their shareholders is worth it.
If the predicted trend graph vs actual trend graph for 5G adoption is getting worse not better as time goes on, then it wouldn’t be surprising to see a telco employ some pretty creative approaches to changing that.
The reality is that over the past two years, during various Covid-19 lockdowns, many of us have been forced to or chosen to work from home. This means far more of your mobile use has been done on your home WiFi connection, rather than cellular networks.
Now as the economy recovers and people start moving around more to work, or even holidays, mobile usage should certainly go up.
Now comes the question, is 4G good enough? For many, the answer will be yes. Telstra and others have done a great job of extracting great speed from the last generation network, with Speed Tests often as much as 100Mbps.
5G offers many multiples of that speed, but if you’re just checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, then 4G would certainly service that without issue. 5G is really a solution for those occasional times where speed matters a lot.
If you are trying to hotspot and share your connection with your family, or host your colleagues for a meeting in the field, then sure, 5G matters. If you’re about to jump on a plane and forgot to download a few episodes of Netflix, then sure, but for most of the time, people are unlikely to justify a price increase on their monthly bill if they can avoid it.
With the events of the past 2 weeks in Ukraine sending oil prices to the moon, other costs, like the cost of transport, places pressure on family budgets and maybe 5G is a luxury many can do without.
Despite that, as I said earlier, once you’ve experienced faster speeds, it is really hard to give them up, so we’ll see at the end of the 6 months if my wife decides to keep it and meanwhile, I’ll just wait and hope I get this magic SMS from Telstra.