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YouGov: UK lagging when it comes to 5G adoption

Paul Lipscombe
August 31, 2021

Less than half of Brits see 5G as changing the face of the internet

The UK is lagging when it comes to adopting 5G devices according to a report from market research firm YouGov.

The findings were revealed in YouGov’s latest whitepaper, International Telco Report 2021 which looks at consumer adoption of 5G globally.

YouGov polled 18,803 people across 17 different countries and found that only 16 per cent of Brits have a 5G-enabled smartphone, ranking joint-last with France.

It pales in comparison to China, where 55 per cent of respondents said they own a 5G-enabled phone, as Asian countries dominated the top five.

The UAE (48pc), Hong Kong (34pc), Indonesia (33pc) and somewhat surprisingly India with 32pc completed the top five.


The low adoption rate of 5G in the UK has been attributed to the pandemic hindering the rollout, plus the government’s decision to ban Huawei equipment from the country’s 5G network.

Along with, YouGov found that Brits remain unconvinced by what 5G can do and whether the technology can change how the internet is used.

It found that only 39 per cent of Brits think that 5G will change the internet, which is significantly down from the global average of 59 per cent.

And another factor around the lack of 5G take up in the UK has been due to the understanding and knowledge side of the technology.

Only 12 per cent of UK consumers said they’ve seen operators’ 5G advertisements, while 21 per cent claim to have never heard of 5G.

And when it comes to upgrading to a new phone, 60 per cent of Brits don’t intend to upgrade to a phone just because it has 5G capability, with 31pc citing little interest in 5G and 18pc saying the cost of 5G is too high.

Concern in the UK is low

YouGov also analysed consumers concerns around 5G as a technology and found that despite Asia having the highest adoption rates so far, that concern in these markets are far greater.

India topped the list with people most concerned about 5G, with more than half (53 per cent) agreeing to worries about 5G.

Meanwhile the UK, despite its low adoption of 5G thus far, came bottom for concern with just 18 per cent having reservations around the safety of 5G.

While the overall global figures showed that consumers aged 25 to 34 are most likely to have reservations about 5G networks.

This is followed closely by 18 to 24-year-olds and 35 to 44-year-olds, both on 33 per cent.

To see a full depth analysis of the YouGov report see the next issue of Mobile News 710

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