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Indians wary of moving to 5G, says a LocalCircles survey

Despite the fan-fared launch of 5G services in India and many owning 5G ready smartphones, less than 5% want to move to 5G, according to a survey by community social media platform Localcircles.

The survey covering over 29,000 responses from mobile service consumers located in 318 districts of India found that more than three-fourth of the respondents expected 5G services to address one or more issues like speed, network availability and call drop or connectivity issues.

“Given that 4G has not improved the quality of calls or internet speed despite consumers having invested in the new generation of mobile phones and other gadgets, there is a general sense of cautiousness about investing in mobiles and other 5G compatible devices,” the survey noted.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio plan to offer 5G services across by March 2024 even as cities of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Varanasi, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jamnagar, Gandhinagar, Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Kolkata, Siliguri, Gurugram and Hyderabad have been identified for the first phase of launch.

The survey said that at least a fifth of those surveyed expected reduction in call drop and connectivity issues or improved voice network, underlining the need for carriers to improve quality of services and connectivity. The government has already started asking carriers to improve quality of service by 3-4 times following the series of reforms that were undertaken to improve the financial health of the sector, starting September last year.

The survey added that 20% mobile subscribers surveyed had a 5G compliant device and 4% were planning to buy a new device this year to avail of the new services being rolled out.

Basis findings of the survey, 46% respondents are either reluctant or cannot say that they will upgrade their device even till end of 2024 indicating that some other solution than mandatory device upgrade may be needed.

The department of telecommunications has nudged the operators as well as phone makers earlier this week to update with latest technologies so that the 5G roll out can happen at the earliest. Samsung said that they are working with their operator partners and are committed to rolling out OTA updates across all its 5G devices by mid-November this year while Apple said that it will start rolling out 5G services to iphone users in December this year.

Assuming 5G addresses one or more of the issues highlighted in the survey, another 20% are likely to purchase a 5G compliant device in 2023, the survey found.

The survey also found that 55% respondents are willing to pay up to 10% more for 5G service plans as and when they have a ready device but 43% were clearly opposed to paying anything additional for a 5G service plan. Among those who indicated paying a premium, 43% indicated willingness to pay up to 10% more tariff, just 10% indicated willingness to pay 10-25% more tariff and another 2% showed willingness to pay between 25-50% more tariff.

“The need of the hour clearly is for the government to work with telecom providers and keep the 5G prices as close as possible to the current pricing and work with device makers to find ways of making as many device models complaint through the necessary software upgrades and keep the prices of entry level 5G devices low so more subscribers can migrate than what the survey is currently projecting,” the survey added. Livemint

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