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A year of grand events and three fan archetypes - The Telco 5G opportunity

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Research Leader ConsumerLab

A crowd of people at a concert

Research Leader ConsumerLab

Research Leader ConsumerLab

What excites me about my role is understanding the voice of the customer. In a world of countless options, uncovering what consumers truly want is a challenging yet fascinating endeavour.

2024 is shaping up to be the year of the fan. And that means a lot of fan experiences to choose from. Just think about the crowds travelling all across Europe for this year’s hottest sporting events and music tours. It's clear that this year holds immense potential for creating unforgettable experiences for fans.

One thing I know for sure is that whether it's attending concerts or sports games, the ability to connect at venues and share experiences is becoming just as important as the main event, both inside and outside the stadium. And ready for Telcos is the opportunity to capture new value from these customers through differentiated connectivity offerings, which we will explore throughout this blog.

Elevating fan experience to a new level

As Verizon aptly phrases it, "The live sports experience is undergoing a significant upgrade.” Telcos are providing consumers with the flexibility to personalize their most memorable moments, acting as the facilitators of these fan experiences.

As consumer behaviour changes, so do expectations for connectivity quality. For instance, consumers who are on 5G contracts are much heavier users of data outdoors, spending more time than ever watching high-definition video, sharing content and live streaming, using about five times as much data than in 20181.

Data from the Australian operator Telstra during a recent major music tour in Melbourne shows more than 35 terabytes of data transferred over its network across three shows – equivalent to 15,500 hours of video, or 1.7 years’ worth of back-to-back footage2.

Our ConsumerLab report on 5G value also shows that 5G is driving consumption of immersive and enhanced video formats. 47 percent of 5G users are engaging with augmented reality (AR) apps, 360 degree video and multi-view broadcasts, with daily time spent in these formats increasing 50 to 60 percent in the last three years. On the flip side, streaming of standard, non-HD video formats is seeing consistent year-on-year declines3.

What does this mean for connectivity at events?

This change in how consumers use connectivity is evident during big music and sporting events, as well as key locations like airports and transportation hubs. These events and locations not only serve as a test bed for how consumers are interacting with 5G, but also serve as benchmarks for connectivity quality and customer satisfaction.

Whilst satisfaction is primarily driven by video streaming, data speeds and consistent connectivity, we have identified three different spectator  profiles based on their mobile usage preferences at event venues, which we have coined "The Social Sharer," "The Tech Enthusiast," and "The Purist". Let's see how Telcos globally are trying to meet these user expectations in enhancing fan experiences.

Decoding the three fan personas

There are those who find joy in sharing every moment on social media and staying connected with friends online. These are "The Social Sharers" who told us their main desire is “To stay up-to-date with loved ones and associates throughout the duration of the match.” They rely on connectivity not just to follow the action, but to share moments. For them, a consistent and fast internet connection is essential, enabling them to seize every opportunity to share as it unfolds in real-time.

3 Hong Kong (3HK) is a prime example of a telco offering a premium differentiated connectvity proposition designed to appeal to and maximize social sharing, targeting influencers, the top tier in social sharing. They offer influencers an enhanced live streaming experience with priority uplink speeds and unlimited data on all their social media platforms, whether broadcasting indoors or outdoors4.

Then, we have "The Tech Enthusiast", the savviest consumers who are always on the lookout for cutting-edge ways to immerse themselves in the event experience. They thrive on discovering new apps and mobile services that offer innovative features like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and interactive formats. For them, connectivity is the gateway to a world of thrilling possibilities, from experiencing live action from multiple angles on a 5G headset, to accessing instant athlete performance stats in augmented reality by simply pointing their device at the field. They enthusiastically expressed a strong desire for these options, telling us, "This would be AMAZING! Having these kinds of options would greatly enhance my experience."

An immersive digital fan experience

5G can be the gateway to a world of immersive fan experiences, from multi-view live broadcasts to interactive AR formats.

Bell Canada’s ‘TSN 5G View’ is a perfect example of a premium video streaming offering catered to tech enthusiast fans, providing full customization of the viewing experience in real time. With the option to toggle between different camera angles and control the angle and zoom of any play, fans get to experience the live action up close from all the ‘best seats in the house’, regardless of their physical location5.

The growing appetite of tech enthusiast fans for new experiences has given rise to a breed of startups focusing on immersive technology. is one of these companies within Ericsson’s 5G Startup program (Part of ConsumerLab6) that are in the field of developing solutions enabling new immersive fan experiences, both in stadium and at home. Their augmented reality (AR) offering provides fans with real time statistics on players performance, with interactive elements and a platform for social interactions. Fans at home can also delve deeper into the action with the AR mini pitch, which tracks players in real-time as 3D avatars alongside volumetric videos, giving fans ultimate flexibility in how they experience the game7. These multi-layered experiences represent the next stage in immersive entertainment for fans willing to pay a premium for the most in-depth and engaging experience.

Finally, there is "The Purist," who finds fulfilment in being fully present in the moment without the distraction of constant mobile usage. Despite this preference, these fans still rely on connectivity and convenience apps during events for practical purposes like ticketing, parking, and anything else that removes hassle so they can fully enjoy the moment. I think we can all identify with this plea from our Purists, “Help me find the nearest restroom, where to buy food and where was the easiest way to get in and out”.

Watch this demonstration of immersive augmented reality (AR) fan experience offerings from, for fans at event venues and at home.

For these purists and all fans alike, strong foundational 5G connectivity is essential for a positive experience. It is especially crucial for large-scale events, like 2024's largest international sporting tournament in France, which will see an unprecedented 15 million fans flock to the 878 live events. Orange is building a major 100 Gbps fibre and 5G network to ensure robust connectivity across the 120 event locations, which beyond providing internet access to fans will be an essential infrastructure for the venue security and ticketing, as well as the fifteen thousand athletes, administrators, media partners8.

A perfect example of convenience apps for purists is Singtel’s Event 5G Express Pass. With this ultimate event hack fans can pay a small premium on event day to prioritize their data, allowing them to find their friends quickly in the crowd, share their best moments when they happen, and even book a ride home without fear of disconnects.

These three persona groups demonstrate how fans selectively use connectivity to customize their event experience based on their preferences. Whether it's for effortless social sharing, immersive technological features, or for more practical ends, the power of choice is firmly in their hands.

Premium 5G is rewriting how fans behave

This rising interest in prioritized connectivity is empowering fans who crave and value more memorable experiences. Our research shows that smartphone users are willing to pay an average premium of 11% for a quality of service-led offering3, which Telcos can seize to generate additional value from fans across these three persona groups. If Telcos are able capture this opportunity, it can place advanced connectivity options at the heart of the fan experience.

Sports and music fans are no longer just passive spectators, they are now architects of their own experiences. With advanced capabilities of 5G, they can experience the action from a dozen front row seats, capture moments in new ways, and enjoy added conveniences. This is opening up fresh opportunities for Telcos and their customers in what promises to be an exciting year for fan experiences.

Make it memorable

Create unforgettable fan experiences and capture the value of 5G.

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