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How To Manage Mobile Data Usage in A World of 5G

Preparing for the Data Frenzy of 5G

The buzz of 5G hardly ever mentions one thing: Data usage. That’s right, with the fast speeds, low latency, and higher bandwidth you keep hearing about, comes your predictable increase in data usage.
Add to that an unavoidable increase in smartphone data rates by your telco, along with a rapid increase of connected devices beyond smartphones, all nibbling at data plans – from wearables to sensors on buildings, security cameras, surveillance drones, automated cars, environment monitoring equipment, and a host of others.

Projected worldwide growth of 5G
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But many users aren’t too concerned about these increases – or maybe they just haven’t thought about what these increases will mean for their phone plans. Perhaps when the 5G rollout is complete, the reality of higher phone bills will sink in, or maybe not – who knows?
And this isn’t just a consumer issue – telcos are faced with 5G mobile data questions as well. Right now, they must be wondering how much to charge, as well as how much data to include in plans. With the quantum leap in network capabilities from 4G to 5G, these data consumption and billing questions are as real as it gets. For both consumers and telcos, there will be the need for a more thorough assessment of mobile plans as well usage rates and policies.
In this article, we highlight some precautionary measures that users at both the individual and organization levels can use to manage their data usage in a 5G world. But first, we examine how the dynamics of the ongoing 5G transition will play out in various industries.

How the ongoing 5G transition will play out in various industries

Experts believe that, just as with the previous connectivity generations, it will take several years, possibly a decade, for 5G to become a full-fledged global network serving the mainstream. Some users may get a head-start and begin exploiting the benefits of 5G way before others. Regardless, the rollout is poised to have rippling effects across the board, and in the end, everyone will have to adapt to the new network one way or another.
Many companies across industries are already gearing up for changes to their data management systems. For instance:
In the healthcare sector, we’re seeing providers integrating more connected devices in their patient care systems, including remote monitoring and remote surgery equipment.
We’re also seeing more digitization and smart technologies being deployed in the manufacturing industries.
In the automobile industry, advancements in automation technology will gain more momentum as 5G supercharges connectivity and data sharing in autonomous vehicle systems.
In the media world, social media platforms and media outlets are gearing up to meet the rising demands for on-demand contents in high-resolution formats.
And the list goes on. With all this integration comes the need for more efficient and reliable data management systems. As massive streams of data circulate around enterprise ecosystems, companies need to put meticulous data usage plans in place to keep track of the attendant costs.

Critical issues relating to the management of mobile data usage in 5G

Projected increase in mobile data usage
Source

Recent estimates suggest that the mobile data rate for an average individual user will hit 7GB per month by 2021, and 20GB per month by 2022. And, according to a rule of thumb which holds that corporate mobile data users consume a third of the data amounts consumed by individuals, corporate data consumption could come in at around 7GB per month in 2022. That’s a huge leap from the 500MB – 1GB of today’s corporate consumption rate.
With download speeds of 100Mbps and latency of 1ms, many 5G mobile data users will burn through their data allowances much faster, and will likely use up more data than they currently do with 4G. The same expectation applies to organizations, as they, too, will experience increased data usage.
On both sides, this means focusing on how to manage that data usage to avoid too much of an increase, if not avoid any increase at all.

Exercising greater control over your data consumption rates in a 5G world

Here are some tips for consumers and organizations on managing 5G data usage:

Find the mobile contract and data plan best suited for you. That might not be the cheapest plan in the market, but one that offers greater flexibility. For instance, you can be better-off with monthly usage that allows you to easily switch to other plans, than with a long-term contract, even if the latter is less expensive.
Define a clear mobile data usage policy that possibly incorporates consistent periodic audits. If possible, you can elect an official to manage access to 5G mobile data by your employees based on the data usage policies.
Keep an updated record of your smart devices. 5G-powered inventory management is even more critical the larger your enterprise ecosystem.

Summary

As the 5G rollout continues, there are a lot of things to consider for both consumers and businesses. One that hardly gets mentioned is mobile data consumption, particularly how this technology is going to cause a spike in data usage. To avoid the inevitable increase having too much of an effect on your pockets and books, you’ll need to manage your data usage rates.

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