As India gears up to usher in the 5G era, 89 per cent of consumers wish to upgrade to 5G network in India while 48 per cent would upgrade to 5G even if it calls for switching service providers, a new report showed on Monday.
5G adoption would boost video content streaming, gaming, and social messaging on smartphones. According to the report by network intelligence and connectivity insights provider Ookla, 20 per cent of the Indian respondents would wait for their service providers to upgrade to the 5G network. While 14 per cent of respondents intend to avail the services after upgrading to a 5G enabled handset, 7 per cent would wait for their current contract period to end. Those that aren't sure about the new technology will likely wait to see how attractive it is once others start using it.
Only 2 per cent stated that they don't intend to upgrade to 5G. "While mobile users in India are among the most data-intensive users in the world, India's 4G/LTE networks have become a bottleneck for demand," said Sylwia Kechiche, principal analyst, enterprise at Ookla.
"Now, that operators have acquired 5G spectrum, they start their race to become the first operators to go to market with 5G, with some already hinting that 5G deployments will begin in the next few months," Kechiche added.
The findings showed that if mobile Internet connections were better, 70 per cent of respondents would increase their use of video streaming, while 68 per cent stated they would boost their mobile gaming. Operators acquired a total of 44,960 MHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz spectrum band (mmWave), which due to its high throughput, is particularly useful for streaming and gaming. Nearly 42 per cent of respondents believe that faster speeds would most improve service currently being provided to them.
The good news is that the operators' spectrum holdings in the C-band will help them do just that, said the report. Both Airtel and Jio splurged on C-band spectrum at auction, acquiring spectrum in all of the 22 telecom circles, while Vodafone acquired spectrum only in its priority circles. In addition to faster speed, 24 per cent of respondents desire a more reliable connection, while 21 per cent want better indoor coverage.
Following the spectrum auction, Bharti Airtel has already contracted Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung to deploy 5G services in August. "Indian operators' move to embrace Open RAN will drive network costs even lower. Another key factor is the 5G device ecosystem, with 5G smartphone prices falling since the technology launched," the report mentioned. Indian operators are already voicing their plans regarding network rollout, with Reliance Jio targeting a pan-Indian rollout coinciding with the "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" on Independence Day, while Airtel plans to start 5G services in key cities across the country.
The report also revealed that the key reason for not upgrading to 5G is the perceived cost of the 5G tariff. Just over a quarter of those who don't plan to upgrade said that they think the 5G tariff cost would be too expensive, followed by 24 per cent stating lack of 5G knowledge as an issue, and 23 per cent not having a 5G capable phone, said the Ookla report.