10. Will trigger more operators to launch fixed broadband services 

Operators need new revenue streams to justify 5G deployment costs. Offering fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband will prove a tempting revenue opportunity. However, operators will need to assess where there is spare wireless capacity that is not needed to support smartphone users, or the mobile experience of their main customers will suffer if fixed services take over too much. Operators will also think of innovative ways of marketing 5G to the masses, using home 5G offerings to help boost multi-play bundles, as well as multi-user family and shared data plans.

11. Will use content bundles to accelerate 5G adoption

We’ve seen some massive operator content deals in the past few years, with AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, and a flood of partnership deals with the likes of Netflix, HBO and Disney. The use case for viewing long-form videos on smartphones via cellular remains uncompelling—but with companies such as Apple and Disney investing heavily in mobile content, the next generation of users who are currently getting their first phones could be the ones to change mobile habits forever.

12. Will bring the elusive Excellent mobile Video Experience to the masses 

Since the launch of our Video Experience metric a year ago, we have hardly seen any operators able to achieve our top Excellent rating. In our latest U.S. report, we only saw one operator able to claim even a Good ranking. This is partly due to 4G network congestion, poor latency, and operator throttling, particularly of higher-definition video streaming. But 5G will help relieve the pressure on 4G capacity, enabling more users to enjoy a high-quality mobile video experience at the same time, allowing operators to lift network video traffic management restrictions. As a result, Opensignal expects to see many more Excellent Video Experience scores in 2020, particularly in early 5G launch markets like South Korea.

13. Brazil: Spectrum will become more of a prize commodity 

We recently analyzed the effect of the infusion of 700 MHz spectrum in Brazil’s cities and the improvement it is having on the mobile network experience. Oi missed out in the last 700 MHz auction, making upcoming auctions even more important. We are expecting an auction of a wide range of 5G spectrum in Brazil in 2020, but this has now been postponed until the fourth quarter at the earliest. 

14. Singapore: 5G will make a big splash in 2020 despite a capacity crunch 

Singapore’s operators now hope to launch four 5G networks in the next year, as opposed to the previously planned two—including two standalone networks. The high population density means the city will be covered with 5G relatively quickly, so we expect 5G adoption to skyrocket in 2020. But the country’s operators are also bracing themselves for the impact of a fourth entrant and 5G spectrum is in short supply. The users’ mobile experience threatens to stagnate, or even go into reverse in 2020, unless Singapore’s operators change strategy and focus on quality, not price competition.

15. Philippines: Competition will spike with the arrival of a third operator and 5G

After years of relatively stagnant competition, the Philippines market is also bracing itself for fresh competition, in the form of DITO. Smart has largely dominated the awards table in our reports—but Globe has recently leveraged its fiber infrastructure to launch a 5G fixed wireless offering. The market is set for big changes—and 5G will be a key battleground. 

16. Malaysia: Fiber Connectivity Plan will kickstart the mobile network experience

The launch of the National Fiberasation and Connectivity Plan in Malaysia should bring big improvements to our users’ experience. The plan aims to develop broadband infrastructure and ensure more efficient spectrum allocation, with a target of widespread download speeds over 30 Mbps—quite an ask, since our latest report found Download Speed Experience scores have barely crossed the 20 Mbps mark. But competition continues to increase in Malaysia, and with six players in some of the cities, the market is ripe for consolidation. 

17. Germany: Fourth 5G operator will show its hand, leading to network-sharing deals 

This year’s German 5G auction saw a potential new entrant, United Internet’s 1&1 Drillisch, gain spectrum. The new player, which currently has a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deal with O2, plans to launch its own 5G network and is in talks with potential 3G and 4G roaming partners—opening up the possibility of 5G roaming or even a network-sharing deal.

18. India: the year that the inexorable growth of Jio finally plateaus 

Over our past few reports on the Indian market, we’ve seen Jio’s 4G Availability rise inexorably to become among the highest in the world. But as its score closes in on 98%, this rise is highly likely to plateau this year—allowing key rival Airtel to close the gap. Meanwhile, both operators face a resurgence in competition as Vodafone and Idea complete their merger.