Over 3 Crore Indian Users Expected To Upgrade To 5G Phones In 2023: Ericsson

Ericsson's Consumer Lab Global Survey found that 20 per cent of Indian mobile internet users are willing to pay 14 per cent premium for innovative 5G services
5G spectrum
5G spectrum

As the two leading telcos in India—Jio and Airtel—race to deploy 5G services across the country, users are also gearing up to avail high speed mobile internet services. Close to 3.1 crore Indians are expected to upgrade to 5G enabled smartphones this year, according to Ericsson's Consumer Lab Global Survey released on Tuesday.

The survey also finds that 5G services have increased network satisfaction in India by 30 per cent when compared to 4G services.

"5G users in India stand out for their high daily engagement with apps, such as streaming HD video, video calling services, mobile gaming and augmented reality," the survey reported.

Indian users spend two hours more per week using data-intensive online services as opposed to users in other early adopter 5G markets such as the US, UK, China and South Korea, the report added.

Another key finding of the global survey report is that 20 per cent of Indian users are willing to pay 14 per cent premium for innovative 5G services. This presents important avenues for telecom operators in India to monetise 5G services, said Jasmeet Singh Sethi, head of Ericsson Consumer Lab.

The survey covered over 37 thousand users across 28 markets around the world. This included over 10 thousand active 5G users as well. In India, the survey claims to be representative of 25 crore consumers, including 5 crore 5G users.

How To Monetise 5G Services?

Although it has been a year since 5G services were first launched in India, Airtel and Jio are yet to successfully monetise the service. As of now, the two leading operators are offering unlimited 5G services to select users at no additional cost on top of their existing 4G internet packs.

The monetisation of 5G services remain a crucial challenge for the operators, Sethi said. The Consumer Lab reports lists out several possible ways of monetisation for the Indian operators based on how similar services have been monetised in foreign markets such as Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The three avenues which have maximum potential for premiumisation of 5G services are optimised mobile gaming, enhanced event experience and creator packages. According to the survey findings, users will be willing to pay close to 17 per cent premium on 5G data for enhanced gaming experiences that reduce lag and jitter.

Creator package will be aimed at content creators and influencers who require better upload speeds than regular users. This package would also have prioritised network speed for live streaming which is a common feature among content creators.

Enhanced event experience services refer to 5G use-cases that come into play during live event viewership, whether at home or at a stadium. Including augmented reality (AR) features—such as live statistics and interactive graphics—over regular viewership can be made possible with 5G services. The survey finds that users will be willing to pay a premium above 10 per cent for such a feature.

Sethi added that 'tiering of data' is another method of monetising 5G services. Tiering refers to applying different charges for different 5G speeds. "It is a more for more model, rather than same for more," Sethi said. In this model, users who require higher speeds will have to pay more, with the rate increasing in a graded manner. As per the survey findings, close to 20 per cent of users are willing to pay a premium of 10 per cent for tiered data offerings.

Other monetising options include bundling 5G packs with other services such as OTT subscriptions and selling top-up 5G data packs. The survey found that 31 per cent of users exhaust their monthly 4G data pack by the end of the month, making the sale of additional top-up data a viable service.

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