Only 67 percent of mobile customers in Canada said that their carrier’s network was reliable when streaming music or videos, according to a recent study. Just 7 percent of customers said that network speeds were faster than expected. The study noted that browsing and streaming accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of the time customers say they spent on their mobile phones. An average of 57 minutes was spent on browsing and 46 minutes on video and music stream, against 34 minutes on calling and 31 minutes on texting.
The study also highlighted the fact that while 89 percent of Canadians are aware of 5G and 60 percent said that they understand that the networks mean higher data speeds, only 7 percent said they would be willing to pay more for the high-speed network.
Data needs did increase over the past year, with about 24 percent of mobile customers saying they had 19 GB of data or more per month on their plan, up from 20 percent in 2020. Seventeen percent of customers say they have an unlimited data plan this year, up from 11 percent in 2020, and 14 percent acknowledge they exceeded their plan’s data allowance over the past six months.
While technologically sophisticated enterprises may be eager to explore the potentialities of 5G, consumers can be harder to convince. Operators are well aware that many consumers may feel that their speed demands are already satisfied well enough by 4G/LTE, and that the need for new 5G smartphones can impede uptake. However, this study from Canada, a highly developed mobile market, is discouraging in that it reveals that even consumers who are not at all happy with their current network speeds are unwilling to make the switch to 5G.
One third of Canadian users indicated that they do not find their operator’s signal reliable while engaging in entertainment content streaming. And yet only 7 percent of Canadians are willing to pay more for 5G service. Since 60 percent are aware of the speed advantages of 5G, cost must be the major barrier to embracing the new technology.
If Canadian MNOs are going to see widespread adoption of their 5G networks, it appears that they are going to have to squarely address the cost issue. They can do this by creating aggressive promotion plans with deep discounts at first, which will eventually be priced higher after consumers come to depend on the new service. They can also subsidize 5G devices. If even dissatisfaction with performance is not enough to motivate many people to get 5G, the operators are going to have to get creative.