According to a survey, 65.7% of consumers aren’t very excited about 5G
Now that Sprint and T-Mobile have officially merged into the “New T-Mobile,” cellular signal booster provider Waveform wanted to explore the ramifications of such a major overhaul in the U.S. telecoms industry, as well as consumer understanding of emerging 5G services.
Waveform’s online survey of 1,065 American adults showed that only 32.8% of consumers questioned understand the benefits of 5G “very clearly” or “extremely clearly.” The company stated that while this represents an increase from the 21.2% that reported the same in an October 2018 survey, it seems that the minority of users still don’t totally get 5G.
The majority of respondents — 67.2% — said they understand 5G “somewhat clearly,” “not so clearly” or “not at all clearly.”
Similarly, and perhaps as a result, more than half — 65.7% — of consumers said they weren’t very excited about 5G, representing only a minor increase in excitement about 5G compared to October 2018, when 70.1% said they weren’t “very” or “extremely” excited, causing the company to conclude in its report that a better understanding of 5G’s benefits hasn’t to translate into customer interest.
5G isn’t a single thing and carrier offerings certainly haven’t been straightforward (just take a look at AT&T’s three versions of 5G, one of which is called 5GE, but is really upgraded 4G), a fact that is most likely contributing substantially to consumer confusion — and in some cases, hostility, as conspiracy theories about the new technology continue to circulate.
An interesting detail that Waveform’s survey uncovered is that T-Mobile and Sprint users demonstrated a “meaningfully higher excitement about 5G,” with 22% of T-Mobile and 19% of Sprint subscribers reporting being “extremely excited” about 5G, compared to just 12% of Verizon and 16% of AT&T subscribers.
Again, this could be related to how clearly each carrier is marketing their 5G offerings.
Not to pick on AT&T again, but Waveform is under the impression that AT&T has the most to lose following the Sprint/T-Mo merger. According to the survey, 28.8% of AT&T customers polled expressed interest in switching to the New T-Mobile, while slightly fewer current Verizon customers — 25.3% — showed the same interest. More significantly, 45.3% of Verizon customers said they were definitely “not interested” in moving to the New T-Mobile at all, whereas 37.7% of AT&T customers said the same.
Waveform speculated Verizon’s slight lead in customer loyalty might have something to do with the carrier’s ability to provide better in-building coverage than its competitors. According to the survey, 38% of Verizon subscribers reported having “very good signal” at home, and only 7% reported having “bad signal” or “very bad signal.”
A quick comparison shows that Verizon is the clear winner here as 24% of AT&T customers reported “very good signal,” while 23% of T-Mobile customers and 26% of Sprint customers reported the same.
And of course, as the COVID-19 lockdown continues, reliable indoor cellular coverage is becoming a critical lifeline connecting Americans to the much-missed outside world and their loved ones, making Verizon’s lead in this area over its competitors something worth noting, particularly as the “New T-Mobile” promises to shake up the industry.
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