Home / Technology / News /  89% Indians intend to upgrade to 5G network despite challenges: Ookla

As India is slated to roll out its 5G services soon, consumers seem to be upbeat with 89% saying they “intend to upgrade" to the network, according to a recent survey.

In its recent consumer survey, Ookla, a network intelligence and connectivity insights firm, however, noted that while 5G brings promise of much better connection speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G) and connectivity, factors such as affordability, coverage, and consumer education for 5G will remain early adoption challenges.

“The perceived cost of the 5G tariff is a primary reason for people to dissuade from adopting 5G," said Ookla. For example, over a quarter of those who don’t plan to upgrade said that they think the 5G tariff cost would be too expensive, followed by 24% stating lack of 5G knowledge as an issue, and 23% not having a 5G capable phone, Ookla researchers said.

Nonetheless, the enthusiasm among Indian consumers for 5G adoption is growing with 70% of respondents saying they would increase their use of video streaming, while 68% stated they would boost their mobile gaming. Operators acquired a total of 44,960 MHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz spectrum band (mmWave), which due to its high throughput, is particularly useful for streaming and gaming. It will also lend additional capacity in dense areas such as stadiums.

Sylwia Kechiche, principal analyst, enterprise at Ookla said, While mobile users in India are among the most data-intensive users in the world, India’s 4G/LTE networks have become a bottleneck for demand. The promise of 5G is that it will unlock a world of possibilities beyond just a faster network connection."

“Now that operators have acquired 5G spectrum, they start their race to become the first operators to go to market with 5G, with some already hinting that 5G deployments will begin in the next few months," Kechiche added.

The Ookla survey said that adoption will further go up as of the cost of 5G hardware decreases and the technology and vendor ecosystem continue to mature. Following the spectrum auction, Bharti Airtel has already contracted Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung to deploy 5G services this month. Indian operators’ move to embrace Open RAN will drive network costs even lower.

Another key factor is the 5G device ecosystem, with smartphone prices falling since the technology launched, said Ookla, as it said that almost half of respondents have a 5G ready handset. “This offers operators an existing customer base that they can target from day one," it said.

Indian operators are already voicing their plans regarding network rollout, with Jio targeting a pan-Indian rollout coinciding with on Independence Day while Airtel plans to start 5G services in key cities across the country.


Sohini Bagchi

"Sohini Bagchi is a senior assistant editor with TechCircle with over 15 years of experience in technology journalism. She has previously worked with IDG Media and Trivone Digital Services. Sohini is also a published author of fiction and non-fiction books. Her debut novel 'Road to Cherry Hills' enjoyed critical acclaim worldwide. Her second book 'Techtonic Shift' traces the history and evolution of computers and the Internet. Sohini has a masters degree in communications from Manipal Institute of Communication, Karnataka. She is trained in Karate and enjoys blogging and stargazing when she is not working. "
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