Two-in-three Americans believe 5G will be a reality by next year, according to the first edition of the HarrisX/T-Mobile 5G Consumer Index. The carrier and the research firm announced the partnership today, along with the initial results.
The inaugural index was conducted by the HarrisX research company in December 2018 and surveyed the opinions of over 5,000 internet-connected U.S. adults. A 5G consumer index report will be released quarterly going forward, the two companies announced.
The researchers found that 57% of Americans are aware of 5G and that 90% of those believe it will be better than 4G LTE. Sixty-four percent think that it will be widely available before the end of the year. The most appealing aspects of the new platform will be reliability (93%), speed (92%) and wider coverage (91%).
“Consumer sentiment around tech innovation and 5G, in particular, is widely positive, with big expectations for impact on job creation, business, various facets of people’s personal lives like healthcare management in the near future,” Dritan Nesho, chief researcher and CEO of HarrisX said in a press release. “Expectations are high, with over 2 in 3 Americans believing 5G will become a reality by 2020, which will require significant investment by the public and private sector to get there.”
The researchers also found that 61% believe that 5G will be easy for consumers to adopt; 30% believe cost and difficulty will make it difficult. A third of respondents say that the United States is the global leader in 5G. Twenty-eight were undecided and the rest chose other countries.
A high percentage — 94% — feels it is important for the U.S. to invest in technical innovation. The drivers of this result are innovation ability to drive job creation and the improvements in emergency services, manufacturing, transportation and education that it will enable.
The question of how the nation will be served by 5G is answered differently by the carriers. Verizon and AT&T are going with the millimeter wave band, which offers more data but serves smaller areas per antenna. T-Mobile has opted to rely on the 600 MHz wave band. In November, the carrier completed what it said was the first 5G data transmission at the lower frequencies. The company claimed that a single tower is capable of covering “hundreds of square miles,” but didn’t announce the speeds the transmission reached.