The pace of transition towards 5G connectivity is accelerating, and 5G users have more than doubled in number since 2020. As knowledge about it increases, and the level of misinformation has fallen, more consumers are actively opting for 5G.

More than one-tenth (11%) of our survey respondents are now using 5G. This number has more than doubled (from 5%) in 2020. In the past year, the largest telecom operators have focused on campaigns to inform about 5G, and our survey shows that these campaigns have had a positive effect. Increasingly, consumers are switching network operators to obtain 5G coverage, and fewer worry about any negative health effects from 5G. The Scandinavian customers show early signs of truly adopting 5G, putting pressure on telecom operators to showcase their 5G coverage.

Consumers are actively pursuing 5G connectivity

Around one-quarter (23%) of our survey respondents state that they would change their network operator to obtain 5G coverage. In other words, many customers are actively seeking network operators that provide 5G coverage. Younger age groups are more eager to transition to 5G. More than one-third (35%) of 18- to 24-year olds say that they would change network operator to obtain 5G coverage.

I would switch my network operator based on 5G coverage

Increase in 5G usage: Norway leads the way

On average, 11% of Scandinavian consumers have adopted 5G in 2021, an increase of 6 percentage points from 2020. Even though the number of users has more than doubled, it is evident that the 5G rollout in Scandinavia is still in its early stages, with 89% of the Scandinavians yet to be converted. Still, the development might be an early sign of the Scandinavian consumers realising the value of 5G technology. When looking at the differences between countries, the largest increase has been in Denmark, where 5G users have almost tripled from 3% in 2020 to 11% in 2021. However, Norway still has the largest percentage (12%) of 5G users. The Norwegian government has set a clear strategy for developing its 5G mobile networks.

I already use 5G

Public knowledge about 5G is increasing

Scandinavian telecom operators have launched several marketing and information campaigns on 5G, focusing on the advantages compared to 4G. These campaigns appear to have improved the public knowledge about 5G, which might explain the increase in use and demand. 54% of survey respondents think they will have better network connectivity with 5G than with 4G. This is 12 percentage points higher than in 2020, indicating a more informed and positive view among customers. However, the general level of knowledge is low: more than half the respondents stated that they do not know enough about 5G, although this number is down by 6 percentage points from last year. Hence there is a need for further marketing campaigns that focus on informing consumers.

I do not know enough about 5G

About one-tenth (12%) of Scandinavian consumers suspect that 5G might involve a health risk, although this is less than in 2020 by 3 percentage points. There have been various rumours and conspiracy theories about the health effects of 5G, although the fear among Scandinavians is relatively low. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Consumer survey found that in some countries about 30% of respondents expressed concerns about the health effects of 5G. However, Deloitte’s 2021 TMT predictions show that 5G is even safer than previous generations of mobile network.

I suspect that health risk is associated with 5G

Male respondents more open to 5G

More male than female respondents to our survey have already adopted 5G, and 5G capabilities are given greater priority by men when choosing a new phone. 14% of men state that 5G capabilities are one of the most important factors when buying a new phone. Also, 58% of male respondents choose their phone based on its 5G capabilities, which is 25 percentage points higher than among female respondents.

Gender differences in attitude towards 5G

Suitable technological capabilities

To use 5G technology, consumers need devices with suitable technological capabilities. Typically, only the newest and higher-end smartphones possess them: the first 5G-enabled phone was launched in 2019. Only 9% of Scandinavian consumers say that, aside from price, they would prioritise 5G capabilities in their next smartphone. This percentage is significantly lower than for respondents who say they would change network operator to obtain 5G coverage. This discrepancy might indicate that Scandinavian consumers are unaware that not all smartphones support 5G connectivity, although the difference maybe due to other factors such as the length of battery life. It is worth noting that less than half of existing 5G users chose their smartphone based on its 5G capabilities. This indicates that most of the existing 5G users became users as a result of owning the newest device, not necessarily because they were seeking 5G.

To sum up, the number of 5G users has more than doubled since 2020. Telecom operators have upped their focus on marketing their 5G expertise and ambitions, which may have caused general consumer knowledge to increase. The Scandinavian responses state that almost one-fourth (23%) of the consumers are willing to change network operators based on 5G coverage, with the younger age groups being more eager to transition to 5G.

Key takeaway

The number of 5G users in Scandinavia has more than doubled since 2020. Even though the 5G rollout is still in its early stages, general knowledge about 5G is increasing and more consumers are actively seeking network operators with 5G coverage.

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