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The 5G hype might be working more effectively than we thought

35% of UK consumers are planning to buy a 5G smartphone this year, a new report has claimed.

The study was carried out by market research firm Dynata in December, and though it only involved 1000 respondents, 35% is too big a figure not to take notice of. Furthermore, just 30% said they have no intention to buy a 5G smartphone at all.

Related: 5G in the UK

According to software firm Amdocs, 81% of respondents identified browsing as something that could be improved through having a 5G phone. 74% said the technology could improve their streaming experience, and 32% said they’d use it to improve their smart home experience.

“Currently ranking low on the list were some of the newer and more innovative services that 5G promises to support, such as VR and AR (16 per cent) and cloud gaming (27 per cent),” the report reads.

Mobile operators’ 5G campaigns have, understandably, focused primarily on hyping up the higher internet speeds that the technology will bring.

EE’s latest TV ad for its 5G service, however, revolves around augmented reality, though it doesn’t do a particularly good job of explaining what’s going on.

Amdocs therefore believes the survey’s findings indicate that “5G marketing from communication service providers … is clearly having an impact on consumers”, but that “more can be done to help promote the wider benefits of the technology”.

“Despite there being mass awareness of 5G, our research suggests that consumers primarily see the new communication standard as an opportunity to improve many of the popular mobile services that they already use today, such as video streaming and internet browsing,” Angela Logothetis, the CTO of Amdocs’ open networks division, told Trusted Reviews.

“There is now an opportunity to grow consumer understanding of some of the newer applications that 5G will support, such as cloud gaming, driverless cars and advanced AR and VR services.”

The 5G rollout in the UK is still very much in its infancy. Blanket 5G coverage is probably still a couple of years away, and the few 5G phones that have hit the market have been flawed.

As 5G phones and the various mobile operators’ 5G services get better though, it’s likely that they’ll focus on doing a better job of explaining the more advanced features that the technology will allow for.

“Consumers’ first experience of 5G will be a faster, more responsive and consistent experience for the types of things we do today – internet access, streaming video, accessing and storing photos in the cloud,” said Logothetis.

“We will see service providers start to bundle and monetise these popular applications and content as part of 5G. The more futuristic services – driverless cars, VR and AR technology – will take time – although we are seeing interest in early capabilities – like augmented reality street maps.

“There is definitely an opportunity for new killer 5G use cases to be developed to drive demand for 5G.”

Last week, research from analyst firm Gartner indicated that 5G smartphones will account for just 12% of overall phone sales this year, with that rising to just over 30% next year.

Related: Best 5G phones

“Over time, service providers will look to differentiate their 5G services. Service providers won’t just want to be the fastest network – they will want to be the fastest network for streaming video, or the most responsive network for multiplayer gaming,” Logothetis added.

“Amdocs’ research indicates that half of UK consumers would consider bundling 5G with their home internet packages, and 25 per cent with OTT video services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

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