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How will 5G fit into the sporting stadium?

At the recent PTI Consulting Stadium Technology Insights Event the topic of 5G was covered. What it is? What does it mean for sports businesses? Where does that leave WiFi?

PTI Managing Director, Mike Bohndiek, gives his top five takeaways from our keynote speaker, Antony Tomlinson of Ontix, and translates this into a sporting context.

  1. Big Noise, Big Launches, Big Misinterpretations

We’ve seen some big sports led 5G launches lately; EE with The FA Cup final, Vodafone with Lewis Hamilton etc, and sports stadiums are clearly a natural breeding ground for the infrastructural technology required to enable 5G. But the reality is that whilst 5G will enable significant increases in speed and use cases across your venue, the commercial roll out of this is a 2025-2030 reality, rather than that of today.

Why is that? …


  1. The Network Needs Rebuilding: 5G is Revolution not Evolution

…… The 5G arms race is on, but all mobile operators are currently wrestling with the level of investment into what is an entirely new network versus the speed of deployment and the locations to focus on. Sports stadiums make natural test bed locations, providing a range of use cases and the ability to bake in the required small cells, but this doesn’t take away the sheer level of fibre required in the ground to enable it.

With great infrastructure cost comes a high on cost to the consumer and that in itself creates a challenge…

  1. Your Customers May Not Adopt It

….. A recent Deloitte study showed that only 50% of the population are projected to have a 5G enabled device in 2025. So, even if we get past the barrier of operators investing and infrastructure roll outs, this may not transform the customer experience for half of your attendees.


  1. If You Have a Connectivity Problem Today, it’s a 4G / WiFi Solution to the Mid-Term

…. If you are holding out for 5G it might be quite a wait and the 50% challenge may still mean that doesn’t leave you fit for purpose. Remember, the 4G roll out itself is far from complete in many areas and it will be a technology at major play for at least another decade and beyond.

If your stadium is struggling with connectivity today, its time to consider the solutions particularly as……

  1. Data usage is rising exponentially

….. If you are behind the curve today, you are slipping further behind week on week, month on month and the catching up process will only get harder as your customers expectations move up the lines below. Generating the ROI then becomes the big debate. Is it about quality of product, quality of experience or commercial return? Some, none or all? It is here that the biggest challenge lies and it is one that PTI Consulting are assisting numerous clients in tackling.

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