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The value of 5G services and the opportunity for CSPs

3,000 consumers reveal what they really want from 5G

6 minute read

Unpacking consumer demand for 5G-enabled services
Unpacking consumer demand for 5G-enabled services

New research shows what consumers really want from 5G

When you build it, they will come

That’s been the driving ethos behind the 5G network buildout, but now CSPs need to know exactly where those new subscribers will come from, and which 5G services will most spark their desire.

To answer these questions, Nokia conducted in-depth research with more than 3,000 consumers in markets where 5G is already deployed: the US, the UK and South Korea.

Complementing a parallel survey on enterprise perceptions of 5G, this major new study reveals what consumers expect from 5G, which services they most want to receive, and how they’d like to receive them.

Below you’ll find highlights of what they told us – and what they mean for CSPs.


What we learned about consumers and 5G

They want 5G

1. They want 5G when they understand it

Demand for 5G enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) increases significantly when consumers understand what it is and what it can do for them.

We found that 80% of consumers who understand 5G want it, compared with just 23% of those who aren’t familiar with it.

Next steps: Drive demand by showing consumers that 5G offers much more than “faster 4G”

Willing to pay more for 5G

2. They’re willing to pay more for 5G

Over half of survey respondents said they’d be willing to pay more for 5G. Focus group participants, however, said they’d look carefully at costs and at different providers' offers. This suggests that cost will be a consideration for adoption but not a barrier to it, and consumers show a willingness to pay more if they understand the 5G difference.

Next steps: Earn the right to charge a premium with attractive offers that go beyond faster connectivity

Switch to get 5G

3. Engaged users will switch provider to get 5G

50% of respondents said they’re likely to switch provider to get 5G if their own provider doesn’t offer it in the next 12 months. Those most likely to switch – remote workers, video streamers, home monitors – are highly engaged users who will make substantial use of 5G capabilities.

Next steps: Roll out 5G early, find engaged users, and entice them to switch with high-value offers that align with their current 4G use

Devices will spur

4. Opportunities abound for CSPs to expand beyond connectivity

Our survey revealed a strong appetite for 5G-enhanced services in many areas, from fixed wireless access to home monitoring and real-time drone video, to cloud gaming, AR-based translation, precise navigation, and more. 

Next steps: Explore the potential for higher-value 5G services and forge partnerships to maximize market reach.



Top consumer 5G use cases

1. Fixed Wireless Access

Consumers see 5G FWA as a viable alternative to wired broadband

Respondents were overwhelmingly interested in FWA in the home, with 76% rating it as appealing – even higher than eMBB.

These findings validate the perception of FWA as a promising near-term opportunity for CSPs.

2. Video

Video applications are already popular, and consumers are ready to hear how 5G can enhance them further.

Consumers find video the most appealing 5G enabled service after FWA, with 66% finding video capture and streaming services appealing, and 69% saying video detection and alerts hold high appeal.

The key to success will be in targeting consumers with 5G video services that are most appealing to them.

3. Immersive experiences

AR has the broadest appeal, with pockets of highly engaged users finding 5G-enabled VR and cloud gaming appealing.

There are interesting contrasts between familiarity and adoption. While over two-thirds of respondents are familiar with VR, less than 20% currently own a VR headset. By contrast, less than half of consumers are familiar with AR as a term, but 63% have tried an AR application of some kind.

4. Smart venues

Better connectivity and service reliability in congested areas are easily understood and highly appealing aspects of 5G.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents find the idea of 5G-enhanced venues appealing – whether it’s a stadium game, concert, festival, theme park, museum, or any other place where lots of people congregate.

5. Connected vehicles

The majority of vehicle owners are interested in enhanced connectivity in the car, especially for road safety and enhanced navigation.

73% of vehicle owners found the idea of vehicle connectivity appealing, making connected vehicles an interesting use case for CSPs, particularly in markets with higher vehicle ownership.

Get the full report

Get the complete inside track on what 3,000+ consumers told us about their expectations for 5G in our in-depth research report: The value of 5G services: Consumer perceptions and the opportunity for CSPs.

You’ll find:

  • Detailed quantitative analysis of consumer demand for five 5G use cases
  • Qualitative insights from four US consumer focus groups 
  • Key takeaways and actionable insights you can use in your 5G planning

Who we spoke to


3,000 smartphone users

Survey of 3,000 smartphone users across three 5G-deployed regions.


4 focus groups

Four focus groups with consumers in two US cities: 30 participants total



Who we spoke to

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