An iconic device will drive 5G adoption. Its performance, apps and services will decide the consumer success of 5G.

Consumer insights

The interest in 5G devices is already clear. Half of global consumers want to upgrade to a 5G handset within a year of networks being available, while 18 percent say they will upgrade to a 5G handset as soon as networks are ready. But it might take more than a bigger screen to truly make an impact on the market. Over a third of consumers say 5G would need an iconic ‘iPhone moment’ to drive adoption similar to what was seen with 3G and 4G, while 43 percent say that a whole new class of devices will be needed to deal with 5G speeds.

There’s no doubt the mobile device is becoming the hub in an growing ecosystem of services, including digital voice assistants, AR and VR-led solutions. But it’s not all about what’s new. Consumers primarily associate 5G with benefiting from already familiar services, including social and communication apps, home security and online shopping experiences. However, 5G must show significant improvements in service quality to avoid disappointed customers. There are increasing expectations in the smart assistant and home automation services in particular, with 44 percent of smartphone shoppers saying they’d like a digital assistant taking deliveries if they’re not at home. 68 percent think that this will be mainstream in just three years’ time.

Interest to upgrade to own 5G handset

Solution: Reveal 5G potential through iconic moments

Consumers don’t want to pay more for mobile broadband just because it’s delivered over 5G. The higher revenue potential must come from true customer added value. As a result, new services will play a crucial role, along with use cases that demonstrate the benefits of 5G, whether it’s 5G-enabled VR, haptic feedback, low-latency applications, or VR shopping. In this context, service-based pricing is something that customer are open for and even prefer. More than 25 percent of users says they would prefer a service-based pricing model, when considering a high-demanding 5G service such as a connected, self-driving car.

An iconic device may well be what’s needed, but long term, consumers will need several iconic moments from an aligned ecosystem of device and chipset manufacturers, app developers, and service providers to truly demonstrate the potential of 5G technology.

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