Hong Kong’s quest for 5G coverage - a connection speed promising a digital uplift of mythic proportions - has finally reached its climax.
On 31 March 2020, China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) held a 5G launch ceremony at its flagship Central store location. But rather than holding any traditional press conference attended by dozens of media guests and partners, the telecommunications brand provided a demonstration of just one the many potential applications this high-speed connection type presents.
Via state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) tech, consumers were able to experience the livestreamed event remotely from their homes and offices in stunning 8K. The first-ever press conference of its type in the city, the visual stimulus allowed viewers who couldn’t physically attend - due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines - to still feel present.
Samson Lam, Founder and Managing Partner of Rubison Marketing Solutions says, “The smooth VR experience powered by 5G offered a 360-degree immersive experience of the launch event to the media guests and influencers, which saves the hustle and bustle of attending it physically. In time of accelerating COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong, this further reinforced the creative event concept and the integral role that technology plays in daily life.”
The launch event was symbolically the crowning jewel of the impactful marketing campaign put together by Rubison Marketing Solutions, letting the city know CMHK is the go-to brand for 5G connectivity. Out of Hong Kong’s local operators, CMHK possesses one of the largest shares of the city’s “5G Prime Frequency Band” and it is keen to demonstrate how both those abundant spectrum resources and its advanced technology could present a superior and unparalleled 5G network experience to its commercial and individual customers. The VR press conference achieved a massive success, 25,000 viewers joined the launch via VR and social media live broadcast channels (such as YouTube, Facebook, and CMHK’s UTV APP) remotely, and also garnered over 200 media mentions.
Lam comments, “Since the early planning stages, we wanted to help our client showcase the revolutionary changes brought to society and everyday life by 5G. Aside from holistic pre-launch PR activities, in-mall experience events, dedicated social media, creative website campaigns, and effective stakeholder engagement, the launch event for 5G was able to demonstrate the power of 5G through itself.”
Indeed, CMHK’s launch went beyond mere pageantry or a courteous gesture to consumers in light of the lockdown situation; this seamless integration of 5G and 8K VR was a taste of the capabilities 5G has in store for the digital market. In the specific case of VR, high speeds may solve some of the issues that the tool has encountered up until now with use and 5G can perhaps be the key to its long-awaited mainstream adoption.
Lam explains to Marketing, “Among user feedback of VR, one of the commonly mentioned concerns is the feeling of dizziness. It may be mainly due to the speed and latency of the connecting network. This also implies mobility issue with VR. With the launch of a 5G mobile network that features much faster speed, lower latency, and higher volume of transmission, the improved experience will certainly facilitate wider adoption of VR.”
CMHK’s impressive scope of 5G coverage is certainly going to assist in the adoption of speed-dependent technologies like VR in the upcoming future. Initially, CMHK’s network will cover the entirety of Hong Kong’s city area; 90% of Central and Western, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay, nearly 90% of Kwun Tong, and close to 80% of Tsuen Wan. What’s more, in addition to CMHK’s 38 retail stores (excluding Tai Po), its 5G network coverage will also include popular tourist spots, landmarks, and shopping malls, such as Hong Kong International Airport, the Hong Kong Convention And Exhibition Centre, Cyberport, Science Park, Harbour City, Olympian City, Landmark, and Tmtplaza to name a few.
Competition between telecommunication outfits is likely to be intense as competing operators set up their own coverage. For example, CMHK’s own gambit has been to diversify its plans to target specific audiences such as regular travellers, gamers, and industry networks. Furthermore, this year, CMHK is set to launch its “5G Industry Application” white paper providing various 5G smart enterprise solutions. The six major tenets of this include smart travel, smart lifestyle, smart economy, smart environment, smart government, and smart citizens, all with a commitment to transforming Hong Kong into a world-class smart city.
However, an important factor moving forward will be communicating the benefits of 5G beyond just the basic concept of speed and moving the conversation towards its wider potential opportunities.
Lam says “5G is certainly not just about a faster network speed; it is also about its low latency and high-volume data transmission capability. From Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Big Data, to Edge Computing, it is a new ecosystem of innovation and connectivity, forming an integral part of a smart city.”
Hong Kong has had a difficult year, most recently facing hardship during the city’s battle with COVID-19 novel coronavirus strain. Yet, this period has a silver lining, in that it has inspired many to explore better systems of infrastructure and preparedness, such as reliable 5G networks, which could be essential if and when another crisis hits.
Lam said, “I think it is not just about the telecommunication industry; it is still an ongoing lesson for Hong Kong and the whole world. On the positive side, this pandemic has triggered more thoughts on smarter and innovative solutions in times of difficulties and uncertainties. Changes may create anxiousness, but inertia is definitely not the way to success.”