2022 Sees Tipping Point with More Than Half of U.S. Consumers Now Accessing 5G Networks
- Global Wireless Solutions releases the results of its 2022 study into 5G usage and attitudes across the US, incorporating network test data, nationwide consumer polling, and usage trends involving over 50 million data points collected from consumer devices each day
- 5G is reaching new areas and demographics like never before, with rural area network coverage more than doubling between 2020-2022 from 29% to 65%
- Those with 5G capable devices spend over a third of the waking day (312 minutes) on their devices, and nine days more a year than those without 5G capable handsets
Dulles, VA, 18th October – With $100bn invested in 5G networks from the major carriers, new data reveals that 2022 is the year that the advanced technology has finally arrived for much of the country, with consumer access numbers surging and coverage reaching previously uncovered areas. As well as 5G coverage levels increasing, the data also reveals that throughputs on 5G capable devices have almost doubled since 2020.
The research, conducted by mobile insights consulting firm Global Wireless Solutions, found that the number of consumers who accessed 5G networks in the US grew from just 43% in 2021 to 61% in 2022. This means that 42% more consumers accessed 5G networks in 2022 than in 2021, a significant increase compared to the single digit rise in 5G access of just 7% the year before (2020-2021).
GWS’ nationwide study into 5G access habits combines data from independent consumer polling1, as well as insights based on over 50 million daily data points gathered and weighted from the Global Wireless Solutions’ opt-in OneMeasure Consumer Panel (OMCP) of US adult smartphone users: capable of providing a 360-degree view of consumer behaviour, choices, and satisfaction2.
The data illustrates that 5G coverage has grown over the last two years and now reaches 83% of consumers across urban areas, an increase of more than 35% from 2020 – 2022. While impressive, this growth has been dwarfed by the explosion in coverage outside of urban areas, which has grown to 76% in suburban areas (nearly double 2020 coverage rates) and 65% in rural areas (more than doubling the coverage in 2020). This reflects a closing digital divide as more areas gain access to the technology around the country.
5G coverage by location, based on independent research commissioned by GWS and conducted by Toluna:
No longer a generational divide
As the network is more readily available across the country, GWS’ consumer research also reveals that every age group is now accessing 5G networks at higher rates, with sharp jumps in 2022 and access among older generations now nearing the 50% mark. Gen Z, those aged between 18-24 years old, saw their access rates rise from 50% in 2021 to 68% in 2022, while those aged over 55 saw an almost twofold increase from 25% to 46% over the same time period.
The widespread expansion of both 5G coverage and access has also been coupled with increased excitement for the technology and its rollout. 61% of consumers who had bought a new phone since 2021 knowingly purchased one with 5G access, and nearly a third purchased a phone because of its ability to access 5G networks.
When awake, a third of the day on your 5G phone
As well as purchasing more 5G capable devices, consumers with 5G are also spending more time on those devices – perhaps due to improvements in throughputs and access to apps and services that 5G brings. GWS’ OMCP panel test data shows that consumers with 5G smartphones saw their average minutes of daily use reach 312 per day, which means people are spending 33% of their waking day on devices. This is 37 minutes higher than those using older devices and equates to a whopping nine days more of mobile usage a year for those with 5G devices than those without. Of those consumers with 5G devices, most time is being spent on social media, gaming and lifestyle apps.
Paul Carter, CEO, Global Wireless Solutions, commented: “It’s clear from our data that 5G has not only arrived, but it is now well and truly part of the fabric of our everyday lives. While there is still work to be done to ensure every inch of the country can access the network, it is encouraging to see significant improvements in previously uncovered areas and among various age groups. The evolution of advanced network technology has happened at an incredible speed, empowering new services and applications and pushing us into the eve of the metaverse. Less than ten years ago, we were excitedly publishing data about consumers accessing Mbps throughputs in the single digits. Fast forward to recent years, the introduction of 5G alongside 4G in today’s network, has resulted in a staggering twentyfold growth in average throughputs. This is truly revolutionary for consumers and businesses. But it’s really just a milestone as networks are now shifting into an even higher gear in terms of 5G connectivity – all of which should translate into continued benefits for consumers and businesses alike.”
Data presented in this release is collected from a combination of the following sources:
- A study commissioned by GWS and conducted by Toluna. Total sample size was 5,000 adults (ages 18 and older). Fieldwork was undertaken between July 5th and July 17th, 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adult Americans.
- From GWS’s OMCP between January 2019 and June 2022. The OMCP is an opt-in consumer panel that measures mobile app usage and content, mobile network performance, and consumer perceptions. The OMCP collects consumer data anonymously from Android smartphones 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whenever and wherever consumers use their devices. Panelists also have the option to participate in surveys fielded directly to their Android smartphone. OMCP panelists (aged 18+) are recruited from the top 41 metropolitan areas across the US along with consumers located in less populated areas (overall covering 98% of the U.S. population). Approximately 54 million data points are generated daily by panelists. Data is anonymously collected and reported in aggregate for market research purposes only. All information collected is weighted to a user’s demographic representation of the U.S. population (aged 18+).
For most consumers today, their mobile device is their life’s remote control. As an independent mobile insights consulting firm, GWS measures every aspect of how people live, work and play via their mobile devices – as well as how mobile network performance affects them.
Combining our market-leading network benchmarking technology and methodology with deep behavioral data, we help businesses and organizations to drive innovation and deliver better customer experiences through mobile insights, anywhere in the world. Championing the needs of mobile users by understanding and testing the things that matter to them, we’ve evolved our technology and services in step with the needs of industry and consumers for over 25 years.
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