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Three ways 5G will cure consumer frustration

Is 5G overhyped? Not according to two recent Ericsson reports, which tell us *5G is coming faster than previously anticipated – and consumers are **more eagerly anticipating the latest generation of mobile wireless technology than previously thought. And while the convergence of these two trends creates an opportunity, we must delve deeper into the “why” to ensure 5G lives up to expectations.

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4G has led to unmatched innovation through the creation of social networks, access to streaming content and an app store at the tip of our fingers. But frustration with speed and access still leaves a hole to be filled. As the industry is set to deploy the next generation of wireless technology, companies that are planning 5G strategies must understand where the consumer pain points lie to ensure they are getting the most out of the technology and setting themselves up for success. Here are the top three U.S. consumer frustrations with current 4G/LTE coverage to keep in mind.

A large portion of U.S. consumers are still  frustrated with 4G speeds

We’ve come a long way since the days of slow mobile internet and large gaps in coverage. But that doesn’t mean that consumers are completely satisfied with 4G/LTE. Our ConsumerLab research on the 5G potential  shows 39 percent of U.S. consumers say they face issues related to erratic or inconsistent 4G speed in metropolitan areas.

The frustration is often a result of capacity issues where a large number of people are using their mobile devices in an urban setting. In fact, 55 percent of people in U.S. mega/metro cities say they face most of their issues in areas such as shopping streets, bus stations, and concert and sports venues where large numbers of users are concentrated in one place. The opportunity for instant 5G impact lies in these areas, and consumers say they would like 5G to be deployed there first.

The two biggest connectivity shortcomings for consumers are at work zones, and their commute to and from work

Overall, we’re finding that connectivity problems surface most in two areas: where a lot of people are, and where people are a lot. What that means for most is the commute and time spent at work. Our research indicates 54 percent of consumers said they had trouble with 4G connectivity on their commutes to and from work while 50 percent had issues while at work zones.

As far as commuters go, it’s not just those using mobile internet on public transit that want faster, more reliable service. 4 in 10 of the respondents agree that 5G internet connectivity in the car will be just as important as fuel efficiency and engine power in the next five years. For those at work, either in a commercial setting, private office or hybrid environment, connectivity can be an issue as 60 percent of employees use mobile apps for work, and 71 percent say they spend over two hours a week accessing company information on their mobile devices.

Consumers are also unsatisfied with their home broadband capabilities

This starts with a general dissatisfaction with existing home broadband. Our survey found that 28 percent of U.S. consumers are likely to change their home broadband provider within six months. Reasons cited are that DSL/cable options are simply not good enough and fiber, while faster and more reliable, isn’t available everywhere.

We are potentially at a tipping point where, with 5G, mobile wireless is seen as faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi. Soon, the days of waiting until you get home to connect to Wi-Fi to download the latest Netflix movie or a data-heavy mobile game, or upload photos and videos will be gone.

The idea of moving away from traditional cable TV and opting for an ultra-high-definition TV service (5G TV) bundled with 5G home wireless broadband was most sought after by 74 percent of users in our survey. Additionally, 60 percent say they would likely opt for a 5G fixed wireless, when selecting a different home broadband offering.

As 5G networks roll out across the nation, we must keep in mind the pain points consumers currently have with 4G and where the next generation of mobile wireless networks will have the greatest opportunity.

To learn more about the 5G opportunity, read the latest Mobility Report here and learn about the 5G Consumer Potential here.

*5G is happening faster than previously anticipated

 ** more eagerly anticipating

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