Nokia: new research highlights 5G Fixed Wireless Access opportunity for mobile operators


Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced new research highlighting 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) as the most desirable 5G use case amongst consumers globally. The study, which was conducted by Parks Associates, surveyed 3,000 people in the UK, US and South Korea and examined consumer understanding and demand for 5G services across six different use cases including autonomous vehicles, video surveillance and immersive technologies. The research confirms that there is an opportunity for mobile operators to compete with broadband providers by offering FWA to homes and businesses. 

The new research highlights that 76 percent of all respondents regard FWA as the most appealing use case overall, with 66 percent claiming they would subscribe to 5G FWA if it cost the same as their current broadband service and delivers the same or better performance. Indeed, more would subscribe if it cost less. Currently, 41 percent of respondents only had the option of a single broadband provider with many resenting this lack of choice. This highlights the opportunity mobile operators have to offer FWA as an alternative to traditional broadband services.    

The research was conducted prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven the world to work and learn from home, however, this has coincided with consumer demand for better quality video calls. Indeed, 90 percent rated high-quality, uninterrupted video streams a “very valuable” aspect of 5G. Additionally, a majority of consumers find 5G video use cases attractive, with 66 percent rating video capture and streaming applications appealing, and 69 percent rating video detection and alerting appealing. More than one-third of consumers found AR experiences for remote commerce appealing even before the COVID-19 crisis. The need and appeal has likely increased with social distancing.

More broadly, the outlook for 5G is positive based on the findings. Although current familiarity with 5G remains quite low, with just half of consumers claiming any level of familiarity, the appeal of 5G increases with education. Eighty percent of those very familiar with 5G find it appealing compared to 23 percent of those who are unfamiliar.  Further, over 50 percent of smartphone owners said they were likely to switch operator if their current provider doesn’t offer them 5G in the next 12 months.

Josh Aroner, Vice President of Communication Service Provider Marketing, commented: “Nokia commissioned this research prior to the current global coronavirus pandemic but its insights are still valid and applicable, perhaps moreso in this new environment. While current networks are performing well, consumers are newly appreciating the value of quality networking.

“Video has been a bedrock of social interaction and 5G can greatly improve this capability, while social isolation and remote work likely increase appeal for immersive experience applications. FWA is an attractive early use case for 5G, especially with remote install, but operators must make an informed decision about how to invest in it and in which geographic location.”

Additional report findings:

  • Nearly half of those who work remotely indicate a strong willingness to switch providers for 5G service and more likely to intend to purchase a 5G phone. Greatly expanded remote work experience may drive plan and phone upgrades.
  • Nearly two-thirds of early 5G users are highly satisfied with the speeds they experience on 5G networks, compared with less than half of 4G users.
  • 45 percent of all consumers find connected car concepts appealing with navigation and safety capabilities seen as most valuable, but this jumps to 73 percent amongst vehicle owners. 53 percent of vehicle owners said they would be interested in bundling car connectivity with a 5G data plan.
  • Two-thirds of consumers find 5G-enabled Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality services appealing and 56 percent were drawn to cloud gaming. Mandatory physical distancing may be the inflection point for these use cases.

Methodology: This survey fielded 3,000 smartphone owners across the US, UK, and Korea. Demographic quotas set for age, gender, and household income ensure the sample is representative of the population of each market surveyed. Respondent Characteristics: Adults, ages 18 and older; Smartphone owners; Broadband internet users; Primary decision makers.

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