Mobile carriers and industry pundits can gush all they want about the wonders of 5G.
But blinding-fast downloads and self-driving cars mean little to consumers if they’re either fearful or ignorant of the technology.
Those are two of the top marketing challenges facing the telecommunications industry as it begins the rollout of fixed and mobile 5G, a new consumer survey suggests.
According to the poll, conducted in September by Waveform.com, a San Francisco systems integrator and cellular equipment reseller, most consumers (59 percent) aren’t aware of 5G’s impending arrival, and 38 percent couldn’t care less.
More disconcerting for carriers: Nearly one out of three respondents (30 percent) believe cell signals cause cancer. This, suggests Waveform.com, could lead to local resistance to small-cell placement and their largely untested “millimeter-wave” frequencies, which must blanket the landscape for 5G to function.
Moreover, as carriers and smartphone manufacturers begin the marketing ramp-up to 5G handsets, nearly 20 percent of end users are still struggling to get a decent 4G LTE signal at home or work, the survey shows.
But not all the feedback was negative. Consumers still seem open to the possibility of receiving home broadband from mobile carriers as an alternative to cable, the poll results suggest, and T-Mobile customers seem to be more knowledgeable about and receptive to 5G than most.
The online survey was conducted among 1,039 American adults on Sept. 4 and 5.