36% of consumers said they don’t know which carrier has the best 5G service

J.D. Power surveyed 2,620 U.S. adults in December 2020 and found that most consumers know either very little or nothing about 5G and its value, but that hasn’t totally diminished their desire for it.

According to the survey, 20% of respondents don’t know anything about 5G technology, 42% understand “the basics” and an additional 25% “have a good general knowledge of what 5G is.” While it’s true that most of those surveyed (53%) said they aren’t willing to pay anything more per month for 5G services, roughly one‐quarter (26%) of wireless customers say they “definitely” or “probably” would get a new 5G phone during the holidays.

The fact that a quarter of costumers said they definitely or probably would get a 5G over the 2020 holiday is particularly interesting, because when asked if they would switch carriers if another carrier other than theirs was “clearly leading in 5G,” nearly half (47%) said “probably will not.” Also notable is the fact that when asked about upgrading, the same percentage of costumers (23%) selected “probably will” and “definitely will not” demonstrating a real split in consumer attitudes toward 5G services.

Despite the intense marketing tactics implemented by the U.S. carriers around 5G, 36% of those surveyed said they don’t know which carrier has the best 5G service right now.

It appears that there remains a somewhat ambivalent consumer approach to 5G, almost as if they understand that the move to 5G is inevitable, but after some misleading claims and ads, as well as delays and temporary abandonment of high‐band, millimeter wave for residential mobility use by some carriers, consumers have been left unsure of what 5G can really deliver.

While perhaps a little less silly, these results are reminiscent of another consumer survey conducted by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS), which found that nearly half (49%) of U.S. consumers with iPhone believe the device in their hands is capable of accessing 5G.

That particular survey also found that 76% of consumers were either “somewhat” or “very” interested in 5G, but 74% didn’t expect to see any meaningful benefits this year from the new technology.

“It’s almost like people are investing in the future, not really knowing why,” Dr. Paul Carter, CEO of GWS had commented.