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5G consumers unhappy at lack of new services – study

The world's 5G customers aren't happy at the lack of new apps and services.

A global survey by Ericsson Consumer Lab has found a 10% higher satisfaction rate with 5G compared to 4G, but also reveals that 70% are dissatisfied at the absence of innovative apps on their 5G bundle. "While early adopters are pleased with 5G network speeds, they are already expressing dissatisfaction with a lack of bundled new and innovative apps and services, which they feel were promised in the marketing pitch for 5G," the study says.

Outlook stormy: While customers like the speed of 5Q - they're equally unimpressed with the lack of innovative apps.  (Source: Jorick Jing on Unsplash)
Outlook stormy: While customers like the speed of 5Q - they're equally unimpressed with the lack of innovative apps.
(Source: Jorick Jing on Unsplash)

The good news is that customers are willing to pay more for new capabilities – an extra 10% for enhanced mobile broadband and 20% to 30% more for new services.

The bad news is that most of these new use cases are just not yet available.

Almost but not quite

The Consumer Lab team said that of the 27 possible use cases it had identified and that consumers found attractive, two thirds were still in development. Those apps that are already available include 5G hot zones, TV, instant cloud and cloud gaming.

A raft of services are still at the showcase stage, such as 360-degree video livestreaming, immersive learning, multiplayer AR gaming and VR shopping. Other apps, like 3D hologram calling, AR windows and sensor-enhanced entertainment, are still in early development.

The study says that, aside from some Asian markets such as Korea and Japan, service providers "have been slow in bundling 5G with digital services beyond what is already being offered on 4G – such as music and video steaming services and other apps."

It urged operators to offer exclusive content or services to "differentiate a 5G experience from 4G and promote a sense of novelty and exclusivity."

The other takeaway from the study, conducted in 20 5G markets late last year and early 2021, is the wildly different levels of expectations of consumers in each market.

That's partly due to the different levels of network quality and coverage, but also due to the differing expectations.


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.


Consumers in Korea, one of the most developed 5G markets, are most probably the most demanding. Just 27% are satisfied with 5G – yet their 4G satisfaction level is just four points higher and in fact, their approval of 4G has never gone past 33%.

As the study points out, South Korean consumers expect a great deal from their service providers – "superior performance, no gaps in coverage and new innovative services, especially when they are asked to pay a premium for a 5G plan." By contrast, 59% of Swiss consumers are very satisfied with 5G network performance, though only 30% are very satisfied with 4G.

The report says the biggest revenue boost will come from bundling digital services with 5G tariffs.

It says key is to combine app developers and other ecosystem players to accelerate the commercialization of new services currently being showcased but close to commercial release.

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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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