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UAE, China lead globally in 5G technology adoption

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 31, 2021
Data suggests that after China, the UAE is one of the leading countries where respondents claim to be using a 5G enabled smartphone (48 per cent). — File photo

YouGov’s latest report, which reveals attitudes and behaviours towards 5G in key markets, said with nearly half of the respondents claiming to use a 5G enabled phone, the UAE leads in terms of 5G adoption across the globe


The UAE, where more than half of the residents are willing to pay more for 5G access, is leading the world along with China in the deployment of the fifth-generation telecom technology.

YouGov’s latest report, which reveals attitudes and behaviours towards 5G in key markets, said with nearly half of the respondents claiming to use a 5G enabled phone, the UAE leads in terms of 5G adoption across the globe.

While many countries are still looking to explore the 5G technology, the UAE has come a long way in adopting and making 5G a part of its future plans. Data suggests that after China, the UAE is one of the leading countries where respondents claim to be using a 5G enabled smartphone (48 per cent).

On the other hand, respondents in Germany (17 per cent), the UK (16 per cent), and France (16 per cent) are least likely to say they own a 5G enabled smartphone.

The report titled “International Telco Report 2021” examines the attitudes, behaviours, and preferences towards 5G in 17 global markets and 18,803 respondents globally. The survey was fielded throughout the month of April 2021.

The data from the whitepaper shows UAE stands out in several respects of future intentions. While 54 per cent of respondents from the UAE are willing to pay more for 5G access, residents of Indonesia (60), India (59) and China (57) rank among the first three in this category of people who see the benefit of 5G technology and are willing to pay more for it.

The research data shows while 5G may be the future of connectivity, it has yet to catch on a scale, with massive variation in adoption and attitudes across global markets. Only 26% consumers in all surveyed markets claim to have 5G-enabled smartphones; half (52 per cent) do not, while 18 per cent are not sure whether or not their smartphone is 5G enabled.

Out of the 26 per cent of respondents worldwide whose devices are 5G enabled, only 42 per cent say they currently pay a 5G tariff. In the UAE, about three in ten (29 per cent) respondents currently pay 5G tariffs, which are nearly five times greater than respondents in France (6.0 per cent), Italy (6.0 per cent), and the US (8.0 per cent). Among those who currently do not have a tariff, more than seven in ten (72 per cent) are likely to get it in the future.

The UAE residents also seem optimistic about the technology and more than three-fourth (77 per cent) respondents agree with the statement “5G will change how people connect to the internet”. Among different age groups, the younger adults, between 25-34 years, are most likely to believe it, with eight in ten (80 per cent) agreeing with the statement. Respondents aged 18 to 24 are only slightly behind (with 77 per cent agreeing), while the older cohorts, those between 35-44 years and 45-55 years, were comparatively less likely to agree (73 per cent and 76 per cent respectively).

The favourable attitudes among younger respondents towards 5G is likely to translate to higher levels of current engagement and future intent, said the report.

While the UAE is leading the world with its drive to commercialise 5G network across the nation, many consumers harbour concerns about the technology. Concern among UAE respondents (at 48 per cent) is one of the highest in the world after India (53 per cent). Worry is much less among respondents in the UK (18 per cent), Denmark (20 per cent), US (23 per cent) and Australia (24 per cent). This highlights a clear barrier that telcos need to overcome. In order to do so they need to improve their marketing efforts and communicate more about the benefits of 5G.

— issacjohn@khaleejtiems.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.





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