Global 5G connections to reach 3 billion in 2025
Consumers in the US and UK have a high awareness of and interest in 5G but services and benefits need to be better positioned if the technology is to take off rapidly.
This is a key finding of a new survey from CCS Insight into consumers’ perceptions of 5G and their purchase intentions.
The survey results were released alongside a long-term 5G forecast from CCS Insight that predicts global 5G connections will reach 1 billion in 2022, 2 billion in 2024 and 3 billion in 2025.
More than half of people surveyed expect 5G to play an important role in their next choice of mobile phone and about one in three plans to start using 5G on a mobile phone in the next 12 months.
“This is good news for network operators and smartphone manufacturers struggling to generate enthusiasm in a declining device market,” CCS Insight said.
In the UK, more than 90% of respondents said they had heard of 5G – higher than in the US.
Kester Mann, Director of Consumer and Connectivity at CCS Insight, says that the results reflect the “impressive” recent progress made in Europe. “Who would have thought a year ago that Birkenhead and Bolton would get 5G services ahead of San Jose or Cupertino?” he said.
“Europe is upping its game in 5G and narrowing the gap with the leading markets.”
Europe already has 17 live commercial networks in markets including Spain, the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Romania and Latvia. CCS Insight forecasts that connections will total more than half a billion by 2025, driven by network expansion, lower device prices and attractive service plans.
The survey also revealed some initial barriers to adoption of 5G services. Notably, in the UK nearly a third of respondents believed they “don’t need 5G”, with seven in ten saying they prefer to wait until a mobile technology like 5G is proven before getting it.
Tie-in to existing long-term phone contracts and an unwillingness to pay more to receive 5G were the other leading hurdles.
Mann says these challenges are far from insurmountable. “There’s a real opportunity for operators, handset makers and other players to gain market share in 5G by offering more-innovative service plans and to better communicate 5G’s benefits,” he commented.
“And over the next year, 5G-capable smartphones will appear at much more attractive prices.”
The survey also found “better-than-expected” interest in using a 5G service for home broadband. “The results will be welcomed by Three in the UK and T-Mobile in the US, which are seeking to disrupt the home broadband market with 5G services,” CCS Insight said.
Respondents listed price, performance and quick installation as the leading factors that might encourage them to sign up to 5G home broadband.
Further, 10% of respondents said that a dedicated, high-quality service for gaming could prompt them to sign up for 5G.
Global shipments of 5G phones could approach 300 million units in 2020, much higher than most market observers expect, according to industry sources, citing an internal estimate at TSMC.