Who says the tankers of big business have it easy? Just as the 5G hurricane comes into view on the horizon, OFCOM announces its ‘text to switch’ ruling and the sea temperature also plummets. Here comes the perfect storm.
We’ve known the 5G disrupter has been coming for a long time but OFCOM’s announcement that from July 1st users can switch networks with just a text message is a system shock that’s going to amplify that disruption.
Previously, if customers wanted to switch, they would have to call their network provider to get the PAC code necessary to port their current number to a new network. This call was a crucial customer retention opportunity and a significant check on attrition. Requesting a PAC code by text and getting it in under 60 seconds under the new rules removes that system lag and means customers take delivery of a switch code almost instantly while browsing in store.
This change will bring a whole new level of liquidity to the market. And this just as 5G is about to give millions of customers a real reason to reconsider their network choice. Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride.
5G Handsets such as the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G are already on sale and seven cities are live with 5G from London to Glasgow. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three are going head-to-head with the new service, drawing battle lines both in terms of pricing and roll-out plans. As customers start to see the advantages of 5G, switching will come fast. But now that switching has been made easier than ever the telcos will need to put more emphasis on acquisition and retention than they’ve ever done.
However, while the introduction of 5G is a threat in a world of instant switching it is also, potentially, a solution. Through 5G telco brands have a chance to create new services and experiences that will generate FOMO from rival customers and supercharge retention for existing customers. Interactive TV services, AR and VR for everyday utility and big event entertainment, brand avatars, a merging of your handset and your home – all these and more will emerge in a new world of 5G super-services. Own the must-have, innovative super-service and you create the unfair market advantage you need to ride the storm.
This complex challenge/opportunity, is not just one for the client telcos, it’s shared by their agencies too. Agencies need to rethink the way they support and serve their clients in this liquid 5G world. They need to step beyond comms and be ready to become partners on brilliant 5G product and service innovations too. For the big creative shops that means bigger, and more robust, digital innovation than ever before, but clients will need to trust agencies to deliver.
When telco clients are feeling mega pressure you can bet their agencies will quickly start feeling it too. The telcos and agencies on both sides that rise to that challenge will be the ones that win.
5G and the ‘switch with a text’ OFCOM ruling will fundamentally change the game. It’s time to ask yourself, is your brand, your agency partners, or you as an agency, ready to navigate this wild new market place? The stakes are high, but those that can sail beyond this disruption will use the energy of the storm to reach new, uncharted waters.