One in five smartphone owners say they don’t see a need for 5G technology or will wait until it is proven before upgrading, according to a new 5G smartphone pricing report from Strategy Analytics.

The major barrier to the upgrade, according to the research firm, is the price of 5G capable devices, which are around $1,000 or more. Seven-in-10 of those surveyed cited price as a barrier to upgrading. However, almost half of those with $1,000 phones today, who Smart Analytics classifies as premium buyers, are willing to pay more.

5G Smartphone Pricing Report
Among the survey’s other findings:

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  • One-quarter of African Americans and a slightly lower percentage (23%) of Hispanics expect to buy a 5G device in next five months
  • One-quarter of those surveyed see 5G as an important feature
  • The top features smartphone buyers seek are reliable connectivity and guaranteed quality

“Three in four expect 5G to increase smartphone prices but an element of sticker shock is likely as one third expect prices to rise less than 10%,” said David Kerr, Strategy Analytics senior vice president, in a prepared statement. “The reality of 5G device prices in 2019 is likely to be closer to $1000. Only about 7% of buyers spend that much today.”

Kerr added: “The industry has created a 5G problem where one in five think they have 5G already. Even among Apple fans, 27% believe their flagship device is already 5G despite the fact that Apple does not yet have such a device.”

Ken Hyers, Strategy Analytics director, said: “Privacy/Security, Exclusive Apps and WOW features importance grow with 5G familiarity while faster download/upload speeds are table stakes. Work life balance and time management are emerging trends impacting replacement behavior and may offer opportunities for differentiation once table stakes items are addressed.”

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