Global survey reveals 97 per cent of UK consumers do not have a 5G subscription

Gabby Fernie

Ericsson ConsumerLab has shared the findings of its 'Five Ways To A Better 5G' report - the largest global 5G consumer study to date. 

The study surveyed 130bn consumers and 220m 5G users, exploring key trends behind the adoption, use and perception of consumers with and towards 5G. 

In the UK, 97 per cent of consumers surveyed either do not have a 5G phone or a 5G subscription. In fact, the vast majority of UK consumers seem confused about what it is and can offer.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, 3 per cent of UK consumers think they are on 5G, but have a phone that’s only capable of 4G – exactly the same proportion who have a 5G phone and plan. 

Consumer perception of lack of 5G coverage and availability, financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, 5G misinformation campaigns and lack of compelling digital services enhanced by 5G have led to a decrease in the number of consumers planning to subscribe to a 5G plan over the last two years. 

Clearly, operators must do more to convince users to make the switch. 

A good option for operators is bundle plans. The report shows that UK consumers value 5G plans bundled with digital services and are willing to pay a further 7 per cent more over and above the 10 per cent premium they are willing to pay for 5G connectivity.

Those that had made the switch to 5G seemed overall impressed with the results. 

One in five UK consumers has decreased Wi-Fi use on their handset as a result of their 5G connection, strengthening their reliance on their operator.  In the UK, 5G is already starting to trigger new user behaviours - early adopter 5G users 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.

The report also outlines five ways for communications service providers (CSPs) to meet consumer expectations both in the immediate and longer terms. These include addressing the knowledge gap by educating and better marketing the value of 5G to consumers and ensuring consistent quality of indoor and outdoor 5G coverage. 

 “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" said Head of ConsumerLab at Ericsson Research, Jasmeet Singh Sethi.