Industry Update
Opinion Article 5 May 2020

Sharing The Knowledge – 5G In Hotels

By James Harrison, Hospitality Technology Consultant at HotelTCS

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As I said before, the long agenda went out the window. So here's what turned out to be part five, all about 5G in hotels.

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5G And The Future

5G is a controversial and divisive topic for sure. While many agree this is the next logical step in the evolution of mobile data, there are a number of sources out there claiming there are problems. A number of people and publications have spoken out, pointing the finger of blame for a variety of ailments directly at 5G.

For clarity, that is not what we are covering here. Right now we are just taking a look at 5G and it's application in Hotels. Driven by this question, from our audience:

"Do you see 5G as a future requirement to support new technology with new build hotels" - Keith Watts - March 31st 2020.

4G Before 5G In Hotels

It's clear to all of us that 5G like both 4G and 3G before it will be well adopted. The world we live in is one that is constantly connected, to the point where it is quite an issue when we are transiting through areas where we are disconnected.

WiFi however has been with us sometime, and for most people is a common method of connection when entering a building. It is often one of the first questions people are asking when arriving somewhere, "can I connect to the WiFi?"

WiFi by design provides excellent coverage indoors, yet is limited in range, posing issues outdoors. 3/4/5G however does offer much greater range, so proves much more viable outdoors. 5G with its smaller cell size and higher frequency does mean that it covers smaller distances and struggles to penetrate buildings as well as the previous generations.

Investing In 5G In Hotels

One thing that is clear. many services, that potentially do not exist yet will be designed purely to exist on 5G. When those services appear, and benefit your hotel or your guests, that will be the time to invest in 5G in your hotel.

Investing in anticipation, without knowing the services available, could most likely be premature. What is clear, is that hotels have historically not invested in mobile coverage at all, through both 3G and 4G. There is an expectation from guests that 4G will be available everywhere, yet this is not the case.

It is common to enter areas of a hotel and lose signal immediately. This is seriously off-putting for many guests, and as such could prevent repeat guests.

Key Take Aways

  • We are some way away from 5G removing WiFi
  • As mobile data innovates, so does WiFi, bringing added benefits
  • Hotels often struggle with signal, as such hotels should look to invest in data connectivity
  • Lack of mobile signal can cost repeat guests
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