Smartphone users across Britain and the world are planning to upgrade to 5G (if they’ve not done so already), but both uptake and confidence in the network are somewhat lower than expected.

This is the key takeaway from a new report by Ericsson ConsumerLab – following the largest global 5G consumer study ever undertaken.

Earlier this year, Ericsson conducted interviews with some 49,100 consumers across 37 markets to gauge both opinion and uptake of 5G connectivity – and get a sample group that would represent the global market of 1.7 billion consumers.

It found that 30% of consumers (510 million people globally) planned to make the switch to 5G over the coming year. Ericsson noted this was particularly pertinent in the face of rising costs for food and energy – labelling it: “inflation-resilient 5G”.

This trend can largely be attributed to the finding that 82% of smartphone users don’t plan to reduce their spend on mobile contracts over the year ahead. If they do look to find savings, Ericsson discovered, their TV on demand, music and sports streaming services would be more likely candidates for the chop.

Despite these positives there were some issues reported – especially within the UK market. Consumers here are happy to make the change to 5G (with the number of active contracts increasing 1.4 times over between 2020 and 2022), but afterward had questioned the real-world benefits they were actually getting.

Many reported poor coverage, inconsistent speeds and faster battery drain.

One way for mobile networks to improve their 5G offer was to create new, tailored packages. Around two in five Brits said they would prefer it if they were able to request additional bandwidth for shorter periods whilst they play online games, for example, or have enhanced connectivity tethered to certain high-data apps or processes. Despite some of these concerns, the future for 5G still looks rosy. Ericsson predicts there will be 1.67 billion active 5G subscriptions globally by the end of 2023, as the technology moves from the early adopters into the more mainstream market. This is a huge deal, as the more typical, mainstream users are much more price-conscious, so hitting this market represents a huge leap forward.