Ericsson highlights consumer insights on the next wave of 5G adoption

October 17, 2022 | 08:00
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At least 510 million consumers across 37 markets will take up 5G in 2023, offering an exciting wave of opportunities for those that want to explore potential of 5G, according to Ericsson’s largest consumer study.

Called 5G: The Next Wave, the Ericsson ConsumerLab report addresses the impact 5G has had on early adopter consumers since launching in various countries, as well as gauging the intention of non-5G subscribers to take up the technology – and their related expectations.

Ericsson highlights consumer insights on the next wave of 5G  adoption
Denis Brunetti-President of Ericsson Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos

The report forecasts that at least 30 per cent of smartphone users intend to take up a 5G subscription within the next year.

Overall, consumers see engaging with 5G as an essential part of their future lifestyles. The study identified six key trends that are impacting the next wave of 5G adoption.

Firstly, 5G adoption is to be inflation resilient. The intention to upgrade is likely to vary across markets based on market maturity and inflation concerns, and high growth markets will drive the majority of sign-ups.

The majority of smartphone users globally do not intend to reduce their spending on mobile broadband, and consumer desire for 5G remains robust.

Despite global economic uncertainty, 5G users value reliable connectivity and the majority of existing 5G users are unwilling to return to 4G.

According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, by the end of 2023, we are likely to see 1.67 billion 5G subscriptions globally.

Next, the next wave of 5G users will have high expectations on 5G performance, especially network coverage, compared to early adopters — who care about new innovative services enabled by 5G.

The 5G subscriptions have gone beyond early adopters, and we are now seeing the next wave of users, who are demanding 5G works without hassle.

Early 5G adopters were more interested in rich new 5G experiences, and two in five mentioned that they signed up to 5G because of the promise of innovative services and new devices.

Twice as many potential 5G users than currently regard wide network coverage as the most important consideration when signing up to 5G.

Thirdly, perceived 5G availability is emerging as the new satisfaction benchmark among consumers.

Geographical coverage, indoor/outdoor coverage, and congregation hot-spot coverage are more important to building a user perception than population coverage. Perception of 5G availability is the proportion of time 5G users – those with both a 5G smartphone model and a 5G service plan – perceive being connected to an active signal. Ensuring availability of 5G is now more important than ever, as it has become the new benchmark for user satisfaction, especially among the next wave of 5G users. Of those consumers who perceive high 5G availability, 70 per cent are satisfied with their 5G service provider.

Fourthly, 5G is pushing up usage of enhanced video and augmented reality. Over the past two years, time spent on AR apps by 5G users has doubled to two hours per week. 5G users continue to be more engaged with immersive digital services than 4G users, and there are now twice as many 5G users engaging with at least three digital services when compared to 2020.

The biggest increase over the past two years in time spent by 5G users has been on AR and enhanced video, such as HD/4K multi-view or 360-degree video.

Bundling of digital services in 5G plans has created behavioural changes among 5G users. Yet at present, only one-third of users have 5G-rich content and applications bundled in their plans.

Further, 5G monetisation models are expected to evolve. Six in 10 consumers expect 5G offerings to move beyond more data volume and speeds to on-demand tailored network capabilities for specific needs.

A quarter of consumers surveyed said they wanted the option to boost 5G network performance on-demand to be embedded within certain apps or to be available on specific occasions.

Consumers consider the inclusion of innovative and rich media experiences in 5G data plans to be very important.

Lastly, 5G adoption is setting the path to the metaverse. 5G users on average are already spending one hour more per-week in metaverse-related services than 4G users.

They also expect two hours of more video content will be consumed weekly on mobile devices, 1.5 hours of which will be on AR/VR glasses by 2025.

4G users plan to increase engagement with the metaverse after signing up to 5G, with 41 per cent saying they will start using or increase usage of AR.

Our research reveals that the next wave of 5G is underway, with mainstream consumers now adopting 5G in frontrunner markets that launched 5G early on.

The six key 5G trends and insights from the study suggest how communications service providers can respond to the expectations of both early adopters and the next wave of consumers, driving further 5G adoption.

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By Denis Brunetti

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