The road to 5G adoption is not without its challenges for cellphone users in the United States, according to a recent survey conducted by Speedtest. While a majority of 3G/4G users express a desire to transition to 5G, they encounter various technical barriers that impede their progress.
The Quest for Better Connectivity
In October 2021, Speedtest conducted a comprehensive survey focusing on general cellular customer satisfaction, with a specific emphasis on 5G. The survey received responses from 2000 participants, including 1364 users of our 5G speed test and 636 users who had not yet adopted 5G.
Among the reasons cited by 3G/4G users for their reluctance to transition to 5G, the following stood out:
Lack of a 5G-Ready Phone (35.2%)
Over one-third of the respondents reported that they lacked a 5G-ready phone. Contract-bound users, in particular, tend to wait longer to upgrade their devices due to the reliability of their existing devices and the higher prices associated with newer models. On the other hand, early adopters who are more accustomed to upgrading their phones every 18 to 24 months emphasize the need for flexible and affordable 5G phone upgrade deals.
Limited 5G Coverage (29.0%)
Almost a third of the respondents stated that they did not have 5G coverage in their area. These users expressed their willingness to adopt 5G once the coverage extends to their location. In order to facilitate widespread adoption, cellular operators need to focus on enhancing 5G rollout, particularly in smaller cities and towns.
Absence of 5G Support from Service Providers (6.3%)
A small but notable percentage of users reported that their service providers did not offer 5G support. These users found themselves without a 5G-ready operator in their area. Encouragement and better incentives from providers could motivate users to switch to 5G-ready alternatives.
Satisfaction with Existing 3G/4G Service (18.7%)
Surprisingly, 18.7% of the respondents indicated that they were satisfied with their current 3G/4G service and saw no reason to switch to a provider with 5G capabilities.
In summary, a significant 70.5% of 3G/4G users face technical barriers that prevent them from adopting 5G. These obstacles primarily lie within the control of service providers.
Other Noteworthy Findings
In addition to the aforementioned challenges, the survey also shed light on other factors that influence 5G adoption:
Cost Concerns (8.4%)
Some users expressed concerns about the price of 5G plans. While cost is a consideration, it does not significantly deter adoption. Affordable 5G plans, such as T-Mobile’s “Essentials” and Cricket Wireless’s “Unlimited,” offer good value for users looking to make the switch.
Health Concerns (6.4%)
Interestingly, a small percentage of respondents expressed health concerns related to 5G. However, these concerns appear to be less prominent, possibly due to industry studies and information on the safety of 5G networks.
Overcoming Barriers for Widespread 5G Adoption
In conclusion, there is a substantial market eager to embrace 5G technology. In order to facilitate this transition, industry collaboration is essential. Service providers must strategize urgent and robust 5G network rollouts while offering enticing phone upgrade deals to alleviate the technical barriers faced by consumers. Regulatory bodies should closely monitor the challenges faced by providers, such as pandemic-related delays and supply chain issues, and provide assistance when necessary.
By addressing these obstacles head-on, the U.S. can pave the way for widespread 5G adoption and unlock the potential for enhanced connectivity and technological innovation in various industries.