Fresh research by Ericsson found at least 300 million users could upgrade to 5G connectivity this year, though it noted operator education and marketing would play a key part in consumer uptake.
In its latest ConsumerLab report, Ericsson found consumer intent to upgrade to 5G had accelerated despite the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The vendor surveyed more than 30,000 people in 26 markets who access the internet on a smartphone daily, with a mix of availability of the next-generation technology.
Globally, Ericsson found 39 per cent of consumers expressed an intention to upgrade, based on current ownership of 5G smartphones, technology attitudes, stage of life, income and demographics.
However, realistically only 21 per cent would take the plunge, translating to at least 300 million consumers across 20 markets, the vendor stated. If commercial launches were to take place in additional markets including India, Brazil and Indonesia, the figure could be higher.
Five step plan
Ericsson suggested five ways operators can meet consumer expectations and improve their 5G offerings to ensure a higher uptake: education on the value of 5G; delivering consistent indoor and outdoor coverage; adapt to the network requirements created by the technology; focus on the tasks consumers want to achieve; and envision new use cases.
The research also found 5G had begun to trigger changes in usage, with people spending two hours more per week on cloud gaming compared with 4G, and 20 per cent decreasing use of Wi-Fi after upgrading.
Early adopters reported satisfaction with 5G data rates, but 70 per cent were unhappy with the availability of innovative services making full use of the technology’s capabilities.