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5G enables metaverse revolution as 510m consumers sign up

By Adeyemi Adepetun 
26 October 2022   |   3:24 am
As 5G uptake in many parts of the world bridges the milestone from early to mass adoption, major new Ericsson research – the industry’s global study underlines consumers’ growing commitment

As 5G uptake in many parts of the world bridges the milestone from early to mass adoption, major new Ericsson research – the industry’s global study underlines consumers’ growing commitment to the new technology and their expectations on next-generation uses cases.

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.

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

The mix of Ericsson tracking data covering 5G launches since 2019, and the new consumer survey, has enabled Ericsson ConsumerLab to identify six key trends impacting the next wave of 5G adoption.

The trends are that 5G adoption is inflation resilient. According to it, at least 510 million consumers across 37 markets are likely to take up 5G in 2023.

Secondly, there is the next wave of users, who are demanding. Ericsson said the next wave of 5G users has high expectations of the performance of the technology, especially network coverage, compared to early adopters — who care about new innovative services enabled by 5G.

Ericsson observed thirdly that perceived 5G availability is emerging as the new satisfaction benchmark among consumers. It noted that geographical coverage, indoor/outdoor coverage, and congregation hot-spot coverage are more important to building a user perception than population coverage.

Fourtly, 5G is pushing up the usage of enhanced video and augmented reality. The Swedish firm said over the past two years, time spent on AR apps by 5G users has doubled to two hours per week.

Ericsson is also of the view that 5G monetisation models are expected to evolve. According to it, six in 10 consumers expect 5G offerings to move beyond more data volume and speeds to on-demand tailored network capabilities for specific needs.

On the sixth key trend, 5G adoption is setting the path to the metaverse. Ericsson claimed that 5G users on average are already spending one hour more per week on 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.

Largely, the report also addresses the speed of mainstream 5G adoption, whether consumer demands are being met, and 5G-related changes in smartphone behaviour – and their impact on network traffic.

More than 49,000 consumers in 37 countries were interviewed in the research – the largest global 5G-related consumer survey in the industry to date and the largest consumer survey conducted by Ericsson on any topic. The survey scope is representative of the opinions of about 1.7 billion consumers worldwide, including 430 million 5G subscribers.

Head of Ericsson ConsumerLab, Jasmeet Singh Sethi, said: “The scale of the research gives us an authentic insight into consumers’ views and attitudes to 5G. The report showed that the next wave of potential 5G users has different expectations from the technology compared to early adopters. Overall, consumers see engaging with 5G as an essential part of their future lifestyles.”

He added: “It is interesting to note that 5G is emerging as an important enabler for early adopters to embrace metaverse-related services, such as socializing, playing and buying digital items in interactive 3D virtual gaming platforms. The amount of time spent on augmented reality apps by 5G users has also doubled over the past two years, compared to 4G users.

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