Current smartphones should evolve in keeping with consumer expectations of foldable screens, holographic projection and 360-degree cameras as features on upcoming 5G devices.
By Nitin Bansal
Much like any revolutionary technological advancement, 5G has generated intense discussion amongst consumers and businesses on the benefits of the technology, the possible use cases, industries that can benefit, the potential revenue it can generate for the telecom industry.
According to a recent Ericsson Consumer Lab Study, consumers expect 5G to offer them a relief from network issues in crowded areas. The fact that a strong consumer demand for 5G has begun to emerge is clear from the fact that consumers have stated their intent to change their service provider in case 5G services are not offered. More than half of smartphone users in China and India, and one in four in the US, Australia and Canada, expect their own provider to switch to 5G or will wait a maximum of six months before moving to another that does.
There has also been a lot of discussion around whether consumers are willing to pay a premium for 5G services and how much would that premium be. Globally, smartphone users are willing to pay a 20% premium for 5G services, while half of early adopters would pay as much as 32% more. The consumers who are willing to pay more for 5G services also expect new use cases and payment models as well as a secure 5G network in addition to a consistently high internet speed. While the timeframe might be different for different countries, smartphone users predict that most applications and services will go mainstream within two to three years of 5G being launched. It is also to be expected that future usage behaviours will be fairly different from current 4G usage patterns.
Consumers expect to not only stream video in higher resolutions but also use immersive video formats such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), resulting in an additional three hours of video content being watched weekly on mobile devices by users in the 5G future when they are out and about, including one hour wearing AR glasses or VR headsets. The Ericsson Consumer Lab study also reveals that one in five smartphone users’ data usage could reach more than 200GB per month on a 5G device by 2025.
Current smartphones should evolve in keeping with consumer expectations of foldable screens, holographic projection and 360-degree cameras as features on upcoming 5G devices. Globally half of all consumers agree that smartphones will still exist but that we will all be wearing AR smart glasses in the next five years. Smartphone users predict that most applications and services will go mainstream within 2-3 years of 5G’s launch.
Home wireless broadband and premium smartphone experiences that allow content to be downloaded in seconds are expected to go mainstream within one year of 5G launch. 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 is most sought after by consumers. Similarly, smartphone users globally are also interested in a 5G hot zone service that offers ultra-high speeds and reliability in demanding locations like airports, shopping streets and office spaces.
Consumers are seeing the potential in 5G even as the 5G ecosystem continues to evolve. The 5G business potential for the telecom industry is estimated at $619 million globally by 2026. Service providers need to start defining their 5G plans in order to manage the performance of their networks and meet the growing expectations of customers.
The writer is head of Ericsson India & head of Network Solutions, Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania & India