Deloitte: Consumers are currently apathetic about 5G networks

Research from Deloitte suggests consumers are currently struggling to become enthused about 5G networks.

Operators around the world are currently trying to drum up excitement for 5G, often in a bid to get customers to part with more cash each month.

Demos of ways that 5G can be used have been conducted as part of operators’ marketing blitzes. We’ve seen 8K VR streaming, people being remotely rugby tackled, and drones being piloted in other countries.

Of course, many consumers aren’t needing to use such things in their daily lives today – or, perhaps, ever. 4G is perfectly adequate for most applications today.

Peter Corbett, Deloitte Partner and National Telecommunications lead, notes how there was a clear business case for 4G. People wanted faster download speeds to stream content like video and music.

5G is yet to have its killer application for general consumers. Until that happens, it’s going to be a hard sell.

According to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2019, 84 percent of consumers are yet to be convinced to pay the $15 per month extra some operators are proposing for 5G.

Furthermore, consumers are getting less hyped for 5G. Deloitte notes that five percent fewer people are looking to switch to 5G when it’s available.

“We are probably entering a period of disillusionment with the technology until it becomes clearer for consumers on how 5G will improve their day-to-day lives," says Corbett.

Emerging technologies like VR will provide a key application for 5G when they become available. Mobile game streaming, like Google Stadia and Project xCloud, will provide another use-case for 5G networks (technically possible over 4G today, but 5G will provide a generational leap in terms of fidelity and reliability).

However, Corbett believes 5G early adopters should be prepared to not receive the experience they’d expect from a new generation network.

“Consumers should prepare to be disappointed with 5G in the short-term, as the network will experience growing pains until it is fully established which will come with small-cell deployments and the auction of mmWave in early 2021.”

Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey is now in its sixth year and is a multi-country study of mobile users. You can find a copy of the full report here.

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