Research by Ericsson seeks to reassure on 5G ROI and consumers appetite

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Ericsson reckons consumers are willing to pay a 20% premium for 5G services and claims to bust some 5G myths.

Further, half of all ‘early adopters’ would pay up to a third more, according to its 5G Consumer Potential research.

Ericsson claims the study brings “some sense of reality” to the ongoing debate about whether there is an opportunity for a premium consumer offering based on 5G’s extra capabilities.

The company refutes the “common industry myths” that:
 •    5G offers consumers no short-term benefits.
 •    There are no real use cases for 5G, nor is there a price premium on 5G.
 •    Smartphones will be the “silver bullet” for 5G: the magical single solution to delivering fifth-generation services.
 •    Current usage patterns can be used to predict future 5G demand.

The research, which surveyed 35,000 smartphone users in 22 countries as well as academics and industry executives, finds that consumers expect 5G to provide relief from urban network congestion in the near term – especially in megacities, where six in 10 smartphone users report facing network issues in crowded areas. The respondents also anticipate more home broadband choices to be available with the launch of 5G.

Of those that said they’d pay more for 5G services, four in ten expect new use cases and payment models as well as a secure 5G network in addition to a consistently high internet speed.

Predicting usage

Another conclusion from the research is that current 4G usage patterns are not indicative of future usage behaviours.

Video consumption is set to rise with 5G, Ericsson finds, saying that consumers expect to not only stream video in higher resolutions but also use immersive video formats such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

The report concludes that this will result in an additional three hours of video content being watched every week on mobile devices, including one hour wearing AR glasses or VR headsets.

According to the study, one in five smartphone users’ data usage could reach more than 200GB per month on a 5G device by 2025.

Roadmap for use cases

Ericsson’s ConsumerLab has drawn up a consumer roadmap of use cases involving 31 different applications and services.

The roadmap is divided into six use-case categories: entertainment and media; enhanced mobile broadband; gaming and AR/VR applications; smart home and fixed wireless access; automotive and transportation; and shopping and immersive communications.

Jasmeet Singh Sethi, Head of ConsumerLab, Ericsson Research, said, “Through our research, we have busted four myths about consumers’ views on 5G and answered questions such as whether 5G features will require new types of devices, or whether smartphones will be the silver bullet for 5G. Consumers clearly state that they think smartphones are unlikely to be the sole solution for 5G.”