Four million smartphones users in Canada plan to upgrade to 5G

Mobile operators in Canada already provide 5G coverage to 75% of the population

Four million smartphone users in Canada are expecting to upgrade to 5G services over the next 12-15 months, according to a recent survey carried out by Ericsson.

This figure represents 17% of the country’s smartphone users, according to the European vendor. Ericsson also noted that Canadian service providers may help these users realize their intentions by addressing consumer segments typically known to take up 5G first—such as early tech adopters, heavy users of mobile broadband and people who already own 5G-ready smartphones but don’t have a 5G service plan.

The survey, carried out by Ericsson ConsumerLab, found that eight in ten current 5G users in Canada don’t want to return to 4G. However, consumer knowledge around 5G and its benefits needs more work, as 15% of users claim they are on 5G but use a 4G handset while another 18% own a 5G-capable device but have not upgraded to a 5G subscription.

Jasmeet Singh Sethi, head of Ericsson ConsumerLab, said: “We’ve seen globally that the 5G user base starts to shift towards more demanding mainstream users when more than 15% of smartphone users in the market have made the switch to 5G. These mainstream tech adopters are more value-conscious and have higher expectations than early adopters driven by new tech. The Canadian results and global trends identified by this milestone consumer report suggest we’re on our way towards the next wave of 5G. As 5G becomes the mainstream, service providers need to get ready for more customers looking to get even more out of their 5G experience.”

The Swedish vendor also highlighted that when a market reaches around 15% penetration, 5G subscriptions start going beyond early adopters to the next wave of 5G users. Ericsson noted that Canada is coming closer to reaching the next wave, with 5G market penetration currently at 9%.

Yasir Hussain, VP and CTO at Ericsson Canada, said: “Six in ten Canadian survey respondents said they want 5G plans to offer more than just gigabytes. Consumers are looking for more tailored network capabilities like application enhanced connectivity rather than best effort 5G, which has itself improved measurably this year with rollout of mid-band spectrum. This demonstrates the new business model opportunities the next wave of 5G presents for service providers by bundling digital services and focusing on quality of service for demanding applications like gaming and extended reality (XR).”

Canadians have had access to 5G network service since 2020. 5G networks currently provide coverage to 75% of the country’s population.

Ericson ConsumerLab study demonstrated that even though 5G coverage had already reached a high level of coverage, only 33% of Canadian users see themselves as connected over 50% of the time.

The survey also highlighted that 60% of smartphone users are satisfied with their 5G service provider.

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