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49% of US iPhone users think they can get 5G – on their 4G/LTE handsets

iPhone 11 on red background.
(Image credit: Future)

In a survey of 5,000 adults in the United States, conducted by testing and analysis company Global Wireless Solutions, almost a half of respondents believed that their iPhone could access 5G networks, despite the 5G iPhone not launching until the 13th October.

And as well as iPhone users being in the dark regarding 5G, the survey found that another 29% of consumers are unsure if their current smartphone is 5G capable, while 38% of consumers do not know if their wireless carrier provides 5G coverage where they live. 

"Our survey demonstrates that market education is still required to help consumers better understand how 5G can impact their lives."

Paul Carter, GWS.

“Wireless carriers and mobile device manufacturers have made important 5G investments, but our survey demonstrates that market education is still required to help consumers better understand how 5G can impact their lives in a positive and meaningful way,” said Paul Carter, founder and CEO at GWS. 

Consumer understanding of 5G

All the major mobile network operators in the US have undergone extensive marketing around 5G, and what it can deliver, but these findings from GWS suggest that there is still confusion about the 5G capabilities of the current batch of smartphones.

"There is clearly an opportunity for 5G to drive enthusiasm for new products and services – assuming consumers better understand the benefits."

“Given the fact that 64% of consumers plan to buy a smartphone between now and the end of 2021, there is clearly an opportunity for 5G to drive enthusiasm for new products and services – assuming consumers better understand the benefits of the next generation wireless technology,” Carter explained.

The GWS survey featured questions on consumer understanding around 5G, as well as the perceived benefits, with the following findings:

  • 49% of Apple iPhone users across all carriers think their current smartphone is 5G capable
  • 29% of all smartphone users are unsure whether their phone is capable of accessing 5G. Even when looking only at users that bought smartphones this year, 24% are unsure whether their phone is capable of accessing 5G
  • 76% of consumers are either ‘very interested’ or ‘somewhat interested’ in 5G innovation, but 74% don’t expect to see any meaningful benefits this year

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey also asked respondents which sectors they thought 5G would contribute to, with 54% saying that they believed 5G deployment could help in the response to current and future pandemics. The application of 5G in smart cities topped the list, with 23% saying it would provide a benefit, followed by telemedicine (19%), public safety (17%) and remote learning (14%).

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.