For all the promises and hype generated by proponents last year, the rollout of 5G networks even in major markets has been too slow to truly take hold of consumers’ consciousness. That already slow rollout, however, may have hit another hump with more and more countries pushing Huawei out of their 5G infrastructure and plans. These will inevitably delay 5G adoption even further but its overall impact on mobile and Internet use will be minimal, except for one still rising industry, game streaming services from Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA.
The recent months have put heavy stress on the world’s Internet systems, emphasizing the need for faster, broader, and more reliable networking technologies like those promised by 5G. That said, we’re still getting by with 4G and sometimes even 3G and the status quo is likely to stay that way for a few more months, maybe even years. The COVID-19 pandemic has also put some 5G-centric plans and schedules on hold but one use case, in particular, might be heading for trouble.
Game streaming services do operate on current 4G and Wi-Fi technologies but their true potential can really only be reached when 5G becomes more common. That is partly why companies behind these services are also heavily invested in the adoption of 5G, an adoption that, according to App Annie and Sensor Tower analysts, is likely to slow down in countries that are now actively trying to get rid of reliance on Huawei’s hardware.
Following the US’ example, the UK recently banned local network operators from buying Huawei’s 5G equipment and has even ordered to remove existing Huawei hardware from their networks within seven years. This could hold back 5G rollout by as much as three years and that’s in just one country alone. The US is pressuring its other allies to follow suit and ostracize Huawei from the future of 5G networks around the world.
The good news is that the other lucrative segment of the gaming market will hardly be affected by this delay. Mobile games, by nature, are designed to accommodate even 3G speeds and developers will most likely hold off on depending too much on 5G given the current situation. Unfortunately, streaming services who have been banking on 5G’s spread will have to settle for less than ideal situations for the time being.