Smartphone users in no rush to embrace 5G, study shows

Ericsson survey indicates some mobile subscribers are happy sticking with 4G

More than one-fifth of Irish smartphone users who could have upgraded to 5G last year chose not to, according to a new study that finds a lack of interest in making the move from 4G.

The study also reveals that despite the launch of services by all the leading mobile operators locally, and the launch of new 5G-enabled devices, there has been no increase in the number of consumers planning to subscribe to the technology over the last two years.

The findings of the Ericsson survey will be of disappointment to operators who are investing significant sums in 5G technology locally.

5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity, succeeding the current 4G and older 3G systems. It brings faster speeds of up to 1GB per second, as well as increased security, reliability and lower lag time on data.


Early adopters

The report findings are part of a global survey of consumers on their attitudes towards 5G. Overall, more than 30,700 people were interviewed across 26 markets, including 1,000 people in the Republic.

It finds that early adopters of the technology in the Republic are primarily using it in the home and often as a replacement for wifi. Those that have made the switch to 5G were generally more satisfied with the service than 4G users.

Just over a quarter of Irish 5G users in Ireland have decreased their wifi usage after upgrading and indoor coverage is seen as being three times more important than data reliability in driving satisfaction with the technology.

The report warns operators they must do considerably more to educate the market on the value of 5G.

Consumer behaviour

"This research tells us that Ireland's 5G early-adopters are very satisfied with the speed, availability and network experience available – with decreased wifi usage and increased demand for indoor 5G service suggesting that a shift in consumer behaviour and a displacement of other means of connectivity is under way," said John Griffin, managing director at Ericsson Ireland.

“What’s also clear from the research, however, is the significant ‘knowledge gap’ among Irish consumers, with an estimated 22 per cent of people having 5G-enabled devices but who have not yet taken up a 5G subscription. This represents a huge opportunity for everyone in the industry to demonstrate the benefits to consumers, especially as the network grows rapidly across Ireland with all providers,” he added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist