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Ericsson’s largest consumer survey: 5G is paving the way for the metaverse

In many parts of the world, 5G has already made the transition from “early adopter” to “mass adoption”. Ericsson’s latest major research highlights the growth in consumer intentions for 5G and expectations for a new generation of use cases. It is the largest global study of its kind in the industry to date.


The Ericsson Consumer LABS report, titled 5G: The New Wave of Development, addresses the impact of 5G on early adopters as it launches in each country, and measures the intentions of non-5G subscribers to adopt the technology and their associated expectations. The report predicts that at least 30% of smartphone users intend to sign up for 5G services within the next year.


The data tracked by Ericsson covers countries and regions that have released 5G since 2019, and the new consumer survey has helped Ericsson Consumer LABS identify six key trends affecting next-generation 5G adoption.


The report addresses the behavioral changes that will result from telecom operators bundling digital services into their 5G plans, particularly the increased use of augmented video and augmented reality (AR) applications.


The report also highlights the speed of mainstream 5G adoption, whether consumer needs are being met, and changes in smartphone behavior related to 5G and its impact on network traffic.


The survey, which interviewed more than 49,000 consumers in 37 countries, is the industry’s largest global 5G consumer survey to date and Ericsson’s largest consumer survey to date. The survey represents the opinions of about 1.7 billion consumers worldwide, including 430 million 5G subscribers.


Jasmeet Singh Sethi, head of Ericsson’s Consumer Lab, said: “The scale of the survey gives us a real and in-depth insight into consumer perceptions and attitudes towards 5G. The report suggests that the next batch of potential 5G users have different expectations for the technology than early adopters. “Overall, consumers believe 5G will be an important part of their lifestyle in the future.”


“Interestingly, 5G is emerging as an important enabling technology for early adopters to embrace metaverse related services, such as socializing, playing and buying digital items on interactive 3D virtual gaming platforms,” he added. “The amount of time 5G users spend on augmented reality applications has doubled in the last two years compared to 4G users.”


The report predicts that 5G consumers who have used extended reality (XR) are more optimistic about the potential of mixed reality glasses and are therefore likely to be the first to embrace future devices. Half of 5G users who use XR-related services on a weekly basis think AR apps will move from smartphones to XR headsets in the next two years. That compares with just a third of 4G consumers.


Here are six key trends predicted in the report, 5G: The New Wave of Development


The 1.5G adoption rate is rising steadily: at least 510 million consumers in 37 markets are likely to be using 5G by 2023. 80% of existing 5G users don’t want to go back to 4G.


  1. The next wave of users is demanding: While early adopters are concerned about the innovative services 5G will bring, the next wave of 5G users have high expectations for 5G performance, especially network coverage.


  1. Perceived 5G availability is becoming the new consumer satisfaction benchmark: While 5G population coverage has passed 60% in most markets, only 33% of 5G users believe their 5G connection time is over 50%.


4.5G is driving the use of augmented video and augmented reality: 5G users now spend two hours more per week on AR apps than 4G users, double the amount they spent in 2020.


  1. The monetisation model for 5G is expected to continue to evolve: 60% of consumers expect 5G to offer network features tailored to meet specific needs, in addition to more data and faster speeds.


The adoption of 6.5G is paving the way for the metaverse: 5G users spend an hour more per week on metaverse related services on average compared to 4G users. They also expect the amount of video content consumed on mobile devices to increase by 2 hours per week by 2025, with 1.5 hours of that being watched on AR/VR glasses.