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5G already changing smartphone user behaviour

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A New report by Ericsson ConsumerLab has revealed the impact 5G is already having on smartphone users worldwide and what they expect the technology to deliver in the future.

Indoor coverage is one of the focus areas to emerge from the consumer research, with one-in-five 5G users already reducing Wi-Fi use on their phones indoors because of the benefits of 5G mobile connectivity.

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The report, titled: “Five Ways to a Better 5G,” is the result of the largest global 5G-consumer study to date. It covered consumer sentiment and perception in 26 markets – including the US, China, South Korea, and the UK – the Ericsson ConsumerLab study methodology is representative of 1.3 billion smartphone users globally, including 220 million 5G subscribers.

The report explored key trends behind the adoption, use and perception of consumers with and towards 5G.

A key finding revealed that even by the end of 2020, increased awareness of service and value benefits had resulted in 22 per cent more smartphone users with 5G-ready handsets upgrading to 5G subscriptions.

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The report also highlighted how 5G is already beginning to trigger new user behaviors. In addition to reducing Wi-Fi use, early adopter 5G users also spend an average of two hours more on cloud gaming and one hour more on augmented reality (AR) apps per week compared to 4G users.

However, while 5G users are satisfied with the speed, about 70 per cent are dissatisfied with the availability of innovative services and new apps. Consumers said they are willing to pay 20 to 30 per cent more for 5G plans bundled with digital service use cases.

According to the report, COVID-19 lockdowns and movement restrictions mean that the vast majority of 5G early adopters’ regular experiences with the technology have been indoors.

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As a result, early adopters indicate that indoor coverage is two times more important than speed or battery life in delivering satisfactory 5G experiences.

The report also outlined five ways for communications service providers (CSPs) to meet consumer expectations both in the immediate and longer terms, including:
addressing the knowledge gap by educating and better marketing the value of 5G to consumers ensuring consistent quality of indoor and outdoor 5G coverage; adapting to network requirements for new 5G services; focusing on consumer intent to envision new 5G use cases and accelerating the availability of existing and new use cases through ecosystem partnerships.

Head of ConsumerLab, Ericsson Research, Lasmeet Singh Sethi, said: “So far, analyses of 5G network experiences have mostly focused on 5G speeds and availability based on independent network measurements. But it is equally important to understand how 5G early adopters perceive that experience. With Ericsson ConsumerLab’s five recommendations and insights, CSPs can encourage 5G adoption and meet consumer expectations.”

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