Although the first commercial 5G New Radio (NR) standard compliant networks are still a couple of years away — based on 3GPP Rel-15 standard release, today’s consumers are already anticipating the arrival of 5G in their next smartphones during 2019.
The first “5G Consumer Survey” outlines key consumer motivations and use cases for 5G in 2019 and beyond. This study was conducted for a joint whitepaper by Qualcomm and Nokia in 2017, involving close to 6000 participants from 6 countries.
5G is gaining awareness and appeal in upcoming consumer smartphone purchasing decisions with about 50% of the respondents likely to become early 5G adopters. This willingness stems from consumer pain points resulting from the limitations of today’s mobile networks.
One of the key findings is that consumers expect higher Internet speed – in fact over 86% responded that they need or would like to have faster connectivity on their next smartphone.
The most appealing 5G mobile broadband use cases for consumers are all about lightning-fast browsing, at least ten times faster content download and instant cloud access. Online video consumption already drives the majority of worldwide mobile broadband traffic. With the appearance of ultra high density (4k+) screens in smartphones and connected tablets, consumers expect the delivery of content with the maximum quality enabled by the displays of their devices. Furthermore they are expecting immersive, 360° video experiences to be delivered as well.
People ready to pay premium for 5G ready smartphone
As the survey highlights, consumers already associate 5G with unlimited data connectivity and ubiquity – with 5G they would like to avoid the use of public Wi-Fi networks and get unlimited data plans. These 5G benefits are deemed so valuable, that over 60% of respondents are willing to pay on average 50$ more for their 5G enabled smartphone.
The first commercial standard based 5G New Radio (NR) deployments will enable extreme mobile broadband to meet these consumer expectations as reported in the survey. Utilizing high band spectrum, 5G NR will enable gigabit and multi-gigabit bandwidth and millisecond level latency to enable new consumer experiences.
Results showed the initial success of 5G will be driven by consumer demand for even better broadband experiences, with new use cases addressing vertical markets in subsequent phases. At some point, LTE’s scalability and efficiency will be insufficient and many markets will need to facilitate a giant leap forward – rather sooner rather than later.
This is also a call to action for industry to ensure that 5G will not only a better version of 4G/LTE, but rather can scale in terms of capacity and throughput. This is turn will keep the cost of transmitting a bit over the network as low as possible in order to economically sustain demand of existing consumer video services and enable newer ones like augmented and virtual reality.
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