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5G is already paving the path to metaverse

As 5G uptake in many parts of the world bridges the milestone from early adopters to mass adoption, major new Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) research – the industry’s largest global study of its kind to date – underlines consumers’ growing commitment to 5G and their expectations on next-generation uses cases.

Called 5G: The Next Wave, the Ericsson ConsumerLab report addresses the impact 5G has had on early adopter consumers since launching in various countries, as well as gauging the intention of non-5G subscribers to take up the technology – and their related expectations. In Indonesia, the report forecasts that at least 53 percent of consumers intend to sign up for 5G subscription in 2023. Meanwhile, there are almost half of the users in the country already own a 5G capable device which the report estimates another 32 million among them to sign up for 5G subscription in 2023. As for the expectations of 53 percent of consumers towards 5G technology, they consider innovative applications and services as the key reason for signing up to 5G. In addition, 5G potential users see network coverage more important than speed.

The mix of Ericsson tracking data covering 5G launches since 2019, and the new consumer survey, has enabled Ericsson ConsumerLab to identify six key trends impacting the next wave of 5G adoption.

The report covers the behavioral changes triggered by the bundling of digital services into 5G plans by communication service providers – particularly the increased use of enhanced video and augmented reality (AR) apps. In Indonesia, there are twice as many 5G early adopters compared to 4G users which are engaging with more than three digital services everyday, some of which are streaming video and audio in HD format, playing multiplayer online games, and watching multi-view broadcasting or downloading video content in HD/4K. It is reflected to 97 percent of 5G early adopters consider innovative 5G experiences to be an important inclusion on their mobile broadband plans.

The report also addresses the speed of mainstream 5G adoption, whether consumer demands are being met, and 5G-related changes in smartphone behavior – and their impact on network traffic.

More than 49,000 consumers in 37 countries, including Indonesia, were interviewed in the research – the largest global 5G-related consumer survey in the industry to date and the largest consumer survey conducted by Ericsson on any topic. The survey scope is representative of the opinions of about 1.7 billion consumers worldwide, including 430 million 5G subscribers.

Jasmeet Singh Sethi, Head of Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: ”The scale of the research gives us an authentic insight into consumers’ views and attitudes to 5G. The report shows that the next wave of potential 5G users have different expectations from the technology compared to early adopters. Overall, consumers see engaging with 5G as an essential part of their future lifestyles.”

He adds: “It is interesting to note that 5G is emerging as an important enabler for early adopters to embrace metaverse-related services, such as socializing, playing and buying digital items in interactive 3D virtual gaming platforms. The amount of time spent on augmented reality apps by 5G users has also doubled over the past two years, compared to 4G users.”

Jerry Soper, Head of Ericsson Indonesia, says: “It is impressive to see a strong foundation for 5G uptake in Indonesia. 53 percent of users in Indonesia intend to sign up for 5G subscription in 2023, so that they can access innovative applications and services, such as metaverse. Ericsson is working with Indonesian Communication Service Providers on deploying 5G and building the 5G ecosystem so that Indonesian consumers can enjoy the increased productivity, effectiveness and efficiency that advanced technologies like AR and XR can offer.”

The report forecasts that 5G consumers with experience of using extended reality (XR) functionality are likely to be the first to embrace future devices as they are more positive about the potential of mixed-reality glasses. Half of 5G users who already use XR-related services weekly think that AR apps will move from smartphones to XR headsets within the next two years, compared to one-third of 4G consumer who hold this view.

5G – the Next Wave Report: Six key trends

  • 5G adoption to be inflation resilient: At least 510 million consumers across 37 markets are likely to take up 5G in 2023.
  • The demanding next wave of users: The next wave of 5G users have high expectations on 5G performance, especially network coverage, compared to early adopters — who care about new innovative services enabled by 5G.
  • Perceived 5G availability is emerging as the new satisfaction benchmark among consumers. Geographical coverage, indoor/outdoor coverage, and congregation hot-spot coverage are more important to building a user perception than population coverage.
  • 5G is pushing up usage of enhanced video and augmented reality. Over the past two years, time spent on AR apps by 5G users has doubled to two hours per week.
  • 5G monetization models are expected to evolve: Six in 10 consumers expect 5G offerings to move beyond more data volume and speeds to on-demand tailored network capabilities for specific needs.
  • 5G adoption is setting the path to the metaverse. 5G users on average are already spending one hour more per-week in metaverse-related services than 4G users. The 5G users also expect two hours of more video content will be consumed weekly on mobile devices, 1.5 hours of which will be on AR/VR glasses by 2025. Meanwhile in Indonesia, the report shows 45 percent of 4G users will start using AR applications in the real world once they have signed up for 5G.

CT Bureau

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