The 5G era began in 2019. South Korea was the first country to launch commercial 5G networks. There, users got access to fifth-generation cellular networks back in April 2019. Following the Koreans, other countries, including the United States, China, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, have begun to develop 5G infrastructure. Cellular operators are actively deploying fifth generation networks, and in the meantime, more and more mobile devices with 5G support appear on the market. But despite this, even now, when more than two years have passed since the launch of 5G, users are in no hurry to massively update their smartphones and move from 4G to 5G. We found five reasons why most people are skeptical about the next generation of cellular communications.
The lack of support for fifth-generation cellular networks on the current device is one of the main reasons why subscribers are not switching to 5G. Despite the fact that manufacturers are actively releasing new smartphones with 5G support, moreover, in different price categories, the overwhelming majority of users still use devices released before the «5G era», so they do not have the technical ability to become part of the audience of cellular networks of the fifth generation, without buying a new device.
The situation is radically different only in China, where 5G coverage is actively expanding and there are many inexpensive smartphones on sale with support for the new generation of cellular communications. Analysts estimate that more than 70% of smartphones sold in China in the first 7 months of 2021 are 5G connected.
The high cost of tariffs with a 5G connection is another reason for the low popularity of the new generation of cellular communications. Despite the fact that the transition to a new generation of cellular communication does not require changing the SIM card or number, the high cost of tariff packages still frightens off many users. For example, in the US, the monthly 5G tariff is up to $ 65.
We must pay tribute to the mobile operators who are making huge efforts to develop 5G infrastructure. But, nevertheless, it is still far from full coverage and stable operation. And if in China and South Korea things are going well with the development of 5G, then in Europe the rates of 5G adoption are extremely low. The fact that there are fewer 5G base stations across Europe than one city in China speaks for itself. The development of 5G was also negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that swept the whole world last year, due to which many operators postponed the construction of new infrastructure to a later date.
If we talk about Russia, then when introducing a new generation of cellular networks, market participants faced objective difficulties. Full deployment of 5G networks in the country is expected no earlier than 2025. Therefore, domestic users will not have an urgent need for 5G smartphones, at least in the next couple of years.
It must be admitted that the world was not ready for the introduction of 5G. Yes, 5G boasts record-breaking data transfer speeds that surpass 4G. But in fact, until now, not a single application or service has appeared on the market that would 100% use all the capabilities of fifth-generation cellular networks. Now 4G can easily cope with all tasks, and this is one of the main reasons why users are in no hurry to connect to the new generation of cellular communications. 5G has huge potential, especially in the areas of mining (cryptocurrency mining), healthcare, streaming services, the Internet of things and cars. But so far all these technologies are in their infancy.
In terms of energy consumption, 5G networks are more demanding than 4G. Consequently, users see no reason to use a network that drains their device’s battery faster but has nothing more to offer than 4G offers.
The development of 5G infrastructure, the construction of new towers, an increase in coverage and a decrease in the cost of tariff plans will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the subscriber audience. But this will take time and fifth generation cellular networks will firmly enter our lives no earlier than in a few years.