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5G report: The value of 5G services and the opportunity for CSPs

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

6 minute read

5G research report: What consumers really want

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 report on enterprise perceptions of 5G, this major new market research report 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.

5g market trends

The consumer market for 5G: What we learned, bg-blue-middle


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”


​​​​​​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


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


​​​​​​​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.


Better service

Consumers are generally happy with the speed of their wired home broadband, but many are frustrated with the service they get for their money.

Respondents said they’d be willing to pay the same or more for 5G FWA if the service is at parity or better than their current broadband connection – citing unlimited data, no throttling, and transparency about expected speeds as examples. Over 80% find easy DIY installation, with no need for an engineer visit, a valuable benefit.


More choice

A lack of choice among wired broadband providers means many consumers are willing to look at 5G FWA as an alternative.

In addition to their mobile provider, they’re open to considering 5G FWA offers from companies they already have relationships with, like tech giants, pay-TV providers, and utility companies. MVNO partnerships with those providers could open up new opportunities.


Next steps

Employ case studies and social proof to convince prospective subscribers that FWA can be as good or faster and more reliable than wired broadband.

Explore new pricing models: Innovative offers like DIY installation with a one-month free trial, or all-you-can eat data plans, could convince consumers to switch from their wired provider.

Forge partnerships to expand adoption: MVNO partnerships could help to maximize reach.

Learn more about the Fixed Wireless Access use case

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.

The consumer market for 5G: Conclusions and recommendations

5G is likely to be available to one-third of the world’s population by 2025. Consumers already know it will bring them faster speeds and better connectivity. But beyond the basics, our research shows that demand for an array of 5G-enabled services is just waiting to be unlocked.

Key conclusions and recommendations from the consumer 5G research report are:

  • Consumers want 5G when they understand it: Drive demand by showing consumers that 5G offers much more than ‘faster 4G’.
  • Consumers are willing to pay more for 5G: Earn the right to charge a premium with attractive 5G offers that go beyond faster connectivity.
  • Engaged users will switch provider to get 5G: Roll out 5G early, find engaged users, and entice them to switch with high-value offers that align with their current 4G use.
  • FWA and video are the top use cases beyond eMBB: Unlock demand for 5G FWA with attractive pricing offers and success stories. For video, emphasize speed, quality and wire-free capabilities.
  • Opportunities abound for CSPs to expand beyond connectivity: Explore the potential for higher-value 5G services and forge partnerships to maximize market reach.
Get the full report

Get the full 5G research 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 for this 5G market report

The data in this report is drawn from a survey of 3,000 consumers conducted by Parks Associates for Nokia and completed in January 2020. The margin of error for results based on the full sample size is +/- 3%

Geographical markets

We surveyed 1,000 smartphone users in each of three markets: United Stated, United Kingdom and South Korea.


We surveyed adults aged 18 and older who are smartphone owners, broadband internet users, and the primary decision makers in their household. Demographic quotas set for age, gender, and household income ensured samples were representative of the population of each market surveyed.

Further qualitative data and insights were drawn from four focus groups with 30 participants, held in November 2019 in New York and Dallas.


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