Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 20 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.
There were some positive messages from a new 5G consumer survey by MATRIXX Software, a digital commerce platform company.
Despite 5G still to hit the ground running, as many as a third apparently think the next-gen tech will be worth spending more on. Although that leaves many who are still to be won over, it’s an encouraging sign for mobile operators and the broader 5G ecosystem – provided, of course, they can deliver an enhanced connectivity experience.
MATRIXX said it connected with over 4,000 mobile users across the US and the UK, and that the survey revealed similar patterns on both sides of the pond. Of the 33% of respondents who thought 5G will be a welcome upgrade from 4G, the vast majority said they were willing to spend more on new devices, as well as shell out more on connectivity (see chart). Underlying the importance of being first mover, perhaps, around three-quarters of this group said they would be willing to switch operators to get 5G connectivity.
There were also warning signs in the report. Around 70% of mobile users canvassed complained about 4G in terms of connectivity, availability and reliability (see chart). It helps explains a large measure of 5G doubt. Half of survey respondents were unsure if 5G would deliver on its potential. Some, albeit a small minority, appear to have already made their minds up. Around 16% did not believe 5G will solve current frustrations with their mobile service.
Dave Labuda, Chief Executive of MATRIXX Software, nonetheless thought the positives far outweighed the negatives. “The feedback from consumers paints a very clear picture for operators — ‘deliver a 5G experience worth the attention, and we’ll gladly pay for the privilege of using it,’” he said. “In an industry fighting to keep customers amidst consolidation and competition from digital MVNOs and OTT players, 5G presents a real opportunity to deliver a powerful value-add to the consumer.”
MATRIXX flagged research from PwC, a consultancy, which found consumers willing to pay a price premium of as much as 16 percent for quality customer experiences. “Speed to network isn’t the whole battle,” added Labuda. “The operator who wins the 5G race will be the one to deliver an entirely new experience that trumps what is available to consumers today.”
Useful read: How 5G could be monetised for telecom companies
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