What’s 5G & How Will It Change Marketing in Malaysia

By Julia Koh & Syira Junaidi
February 2020
Welcome to an exciting new decade. We have OLED televisions, blockchain technology, powerful handheld devices that can do anything, thousands of Instagram filters, hoverboards that don’t technically hover, and soon, 5G Malaysian internet.
Recently, researchers at Brandwatch surveyed consumers around the world on what technology they look forward to in 2020. Their survey found that Malaysians are most likely to look forward to cryptocurrency, IoT and 5G wireless technology.

Which Technology will transform society most in 2020?

Germany ‘Renewable Energy’ Responses from Germany were least likely of all the countries to vote for ‘AR or VR’.
Malaysia ‘5G’ Responses from Malaysia were least likely of all the countries to vote for ‘none of the above’. They were most likely of all the countries to vote for ‘Internet of Things’, ‘Cryptocurrency’, and ‘Blockchain’. They tied with Spain as being most likely to vote for ‘5G’.
Mexico ‘Renewable Energy’ Responses from Mexico were least likely of all the countries to vote for ‘AR or VR’.
Singapore ‘5G’ Responses from Singapore were least likely of all the countries to vote for ‘Blockchain’ or ‘Renewable Energy’. They were more likely than those in other countries to select ‘Robots’.
Their finding is consistent with the general opinion of Malaysians on 5G, which view the technology favourably. Malaysians are one of the fastest adaptors of new tech trends in the world. We make e-commerce and online shopping a norm in less than a decade and are quick to hop in the latest gadgets and apps. Americans might have started Uber and ride-hailing apps, but we Malaysians and Southeast Asians dominate the industry now.

What’s 5G?

5G’s full name is 5th Generation Wireless Technology. Previously, the internet was accessed through analogue phone and cable lines (remember the dial-up tone, 90’s kids?). Then, people invented a way to access the internet without wires. The first wireless technology was aptly called 1G for 1st Generation.
Here’s a summary of all the wireless technology generations:
Generation (Year) What It Does Max Speed
1G (1980) Analogue connection for voice calls 2.4Kb/ps
2G (1991) Digital connection, with text messaging 50Kb/ps
3G (1998) Multimedia messaging 384Kb/ps
4G (2008) Video streaming 1Gb/ps
5G (2019) HD streaming, downloads that take only seconds 20Gb/ps
Some say the difference between 4G and 5G is akin to typewriters and computers. Which means that yes, 5G provides a faster internet connection, but it also means a larger bandwidth capacity. This allows 5G technology to do bigger things like self-driving cars, virtual reality (VR), and even remote-controlled medical surgeries.
Currently, the Malaysian government and service providers are preparing the infrastructure to support 5G internet. But that doesn’t stop some consumers to already look for devices and software that can handle the new technology. Samsung and even Xiaomi are already making 5G-compliant smartphones available to Malaysians.

How 5G Will Change Marketing in Malaysia

  1. Faster, Better Internet Connectivity
    Malaysian internet connectivity is still below par, ranking 85th on the global mobile internet connection speed. We have long demanded faster and better connections. With 5G set to enter the market, we expect fewer game lags, uninterrupted HD streaming, faster downloads, and smoother video calls.

    With more time spent online, marketers can watch out for more digital marketing activities such as voice searches, video content, and online shopping.

  2. Customer Experience
    Robots and A.I will be taking over the customer service sector. At least, the inane and routine ones. By automating responses, brands will not only speed up general customer inquiry, but they’ll also have more human resources to solve real-time customer problems.

    Chatbots are already widely used by services such as Lazada and Joey Yap (Feng Sui expert) to answer FAQs. But with 5G, chatbots can drive leads further down the funnel. They’ll not only answer questions or direct to a webpage, but chatbots can also recommend products accurately and ask for feedback while sounding more human. With 5G, the A.I’s algorithm will improve, leading to relevant responses for customers.

  3. More Video-Streaming, Less TV
    5G can lead to mass migration from traditional television to video-streaming. As younger audiences are entering the media market, screens are getting smaller. Yet, consumers are watching just as many sitcoms and movies as the previous generations, if not more. With services such as Netflix, Viu, DimSum, Tonton and more, consumers are shifting their media consumption, more so with the help of 5G which makes HD streaming ever more possible.

    For marketers, traditional mass media advertisements don’t work nearly as well anymore. With new media habits, new advertising strategy would need to take place. That’s why instead of ads, marketers go for featured or sponsored content on video-streaming sites.

  4. Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)
    Although not entirely new, VR & AR are expected to be more popular and mainstream with 5G internet. VR is popular among the gaming and tech community. VR brands such as Oculus are providing users with new experiences both for gaming and lifestyle.

    AR, on the other hand, is seen as more viable than VR as it involves part of the real-world setting. Marketers have used AR to promote, demonstrate, entertain, and create buzz such as what Pepsi did in this viral marketing campaign.

  5. Personalised & Shoppable Content
    Instagram had released a feature which allows sellers to push products directly from a social post. Social content can now be made shoppable at a click of a button, cutting the extra step of redirecting and browsing.

    With 5G, advertisements will also become more targeted and personalised. Online ads will become more relevant to users as the algorithm improves.

  6. Cashless Payment
    With the advent of 5G, more cashless payment options are set to enter the market. From e-wallets, QR scan to blockchain and bitcoins, payments are made with anything but cash in 2020. Malaysian consumers love cashless transactions for various reasons such as convenience and easier to track expenses. It also saves businesses the costs of managing petty cash and risking losses.

In Conclusion

We might experience beta versions of 5G soon as governments around the world are drafting an ecosystem around the new technology. And Malaysian consumers are one of the most excited groups of people in the world for 5G.
As consumer needs are shifting yet again, brands should evaluate themselves if they’re ready for emerging trends such as the ones we mentioned above. 5G in Malaysia is set to transform the way we work, live, and play, so ensure that digital branding is on your to-do list this year.