Satisfaction with 5G declines with usage, says researcher

Satisfaction with 5G declines with usage, says researcher
Satisfaction with 5G declines with usage, says researcher

(Toronto) Canadian consumers have growing expectations for the quality of 5G performance and are blaming providers when internet connections are spotty, according to a researcher.


Posted at 12:56 p.m.

Updated at 5:12 p.m.

Sammy Hudes

The Canadian Press

Jasmeet Sethi, director of Ericsson Research’s ConsumerLab, says a “satisfaction gap” is emerging, with Canadian consumers 10% less satisfied with the quality of their 5G service after using it for more than ‘a year.

“Like all consumers, Canadians also have extremely high expectations for what technology should deliver,” Mr. Sethi said in an interview on the sidelines of this week’s Canadian Telecommunications Summit in Toronto.

“We’re kind of seeing a shift in focus from top speeds to a better quality of experience,” he added.

He noted that expectations for network performance have increased significantly over the past five years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed many employees into remote working situations and highlighted the importance of technology reliability.

Reactions to a network that doesn’t work have changed a lot, since it’s now a question of accessing a video conference from a congested place like an airport or making a phone call from a metro station.

Mr. Sethi also highlighted widespread performance challenges at event venues such as concerts, where high attendance levels can overwhelm networks, and tens of thousands of people attempt to send photos to their friends. or upload videos to social networks.

An Ericsson survey showed that more than 40% of Canadian consumers visited major venues for events over the past year on average about eight times.

Two in five people said they were experiencing 5G connectivity issues, and about a third said their most recent experience was unsatisfactory compared to their expectations for cell phone service .

Mr Sethi highlighted that research shows there is a correlation between network quality and customer loyalty. Users experiencing issues at event venues are three times more likely to switch operators in search of better performance.

For Canadian suppliers, he said a big “stress test” of their networks looms this fall when Taylor Swift brings her Eras tour to Toronto and Vancouver for nine performances.

Taylor Swift’s tour reportedly set single-day data traffic records at multiple stadiums across North America.

“You have to deliver at that time,” Mr. Sethi said.

“High connectivity” and network slicing

To accommodate these growing expectations, he said, Canadian telecom providers should focus on offering “high connectivity” to their customers, where users could pay extra to ensure that their device’s connectivity be given priority when a network is under strain.

Another strategy could involve network slicing, a technology that creates multiple virtual networks for wireless traffic, in addition to the shared physical network. Each slice reserves capacity for individual users or specific 5G applications.

The three major Canadian operators, Rogers Communications, Bell Canada and Telus, have announced their intention to integrate network slicing following testing of the technology.

An Abacus Data survey released Tuesday finds more than a quarter of Canadians have switched wireless plans in the past year, with 79 per cent citing better prices and nearly half opting for more data.

Last month’s poll of 5,000 Canadian adults was commissioned by the Canadian Telecommunications Association.

Speaking at the telecommunications summit on Monday, the association’s president and CEO Robert Ghiz told attendees that Canada has “some of the best and fastest networks” in the world. He noted that recent tests have shown that Canada ranks among the top five countries in the world when it comes to network speed.

Still, he acknowledged that gaps remain in network connectivity, particularly in rural Canada.

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