Four myths about the 5G consumer future debunked by an Ericsson report

Telecom operators, industry representatives, and government stakeholders around the globe are actively discussing the opportunities that 5G presents, with consumers also gaining high expectations for 5G networks and services. But the latest report from Ericsson is shattering a lot of conceptions.

Ericsson released its new ConsumerLab report – 5G Consumer Potential – based on 35,000 interviews with smartphone users aged 15 to 69, carried out in 22 different countries, as well as including opinions from 22 experts in the ICT industry. The report looks at the potential benefit of 5G to consumers, uncovering certain consumer realities about them while outlining the opportunities available for communications service providers.

The report addresses the ongoing debate in the ICT industry about whether there is an opportunity for a premium consumer offering based on 5G’s extra capabilities and furthermore, it busts the following industry myths:

Myth #1

5G offers consumers no short-term benefits

The key findings of the study include the fact that consumers expected 5G to provide relief from urban network congestion in the near term – especially in megacities, where six in 10 smartphone users reported facing network issues in crowded areas. The respondents also anticipated more home broadband choices to be available with the launch of 5G.

Myth #2

There are no real use cases for 5G, nor is there a price premium on 5G

In contrast to the ICT industry myth that consumers are unwilling to pay a premium on 5G, the report finds that smartphone users responded that they are willing to pay 20% more for fifth-generation services, and for half of the early adopters as much as 32% more.

However, four out of 10 of these high spenders expected new use cases and payment models, as well as a secure 5G network in addition to consistently high internet speed.

“The challenge for every mobile operator is the consistency of experience. For a guaranteed quality of experience, we will be able to charge a premium. For services that require low latency, we will be able to charge a premium. For 5G as a pure bearer alone? Harder,” said Derek McManus, COO, Telefónica UK.

Myth #3

Smartphones will be the only solution for 5G: the magical single solution to delivering fifth-generation services

Despite owning new smartphones released in the past year, most consumers (43%) believed that smartphones, as they are today, cannot leverage the capabilities of 5G.

“Consumers clearly state that they think smartphones are unlikely to be the sole solution for 5G,” said Jasmeet Singh Sethi, head of consumerLab, Ericsson Research.

Globally, 50% of the respondents believed that smartphones will still exist but people will all be wearing AR glasses by 2025.

“Consumers will still want their smartphones. You don’t want to take away the experience of having something in your hand,” said Mikael Dahlkvist, senior manager at Sony Mobile.

Myth #4

Current usage patterns can be used to predict future 5G demand.

Another key finding is that current 4G usage patterns are not indicative of future usage behaviours. Video consumption is set to rise with 5G. Consumers are expected to not only stream video in higher resolutions but also use immersive video formats such as Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR).

It will result in an additional three hours of video content being watched weekly on mobile devices by users in the 5G future when they are out and about, including one hour wearing AR glasses or VR headsets. The study also revealed that one in five smartphone users’ data usage could reach more than 200GB per month on a 5G device by 2025.


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