Coming 5G networks might change use cases in many ways. Growth of new use cases might well be driven by enterprise, not consumer apps, by sensors requiring communications, more than people needed communications.
But consumer behavior, on their smartphones especially, could change as well, as a survey conducted by Nokia of likely early adopters suggests.
To the extent that 5G includes consumer use cases, value–at least when consumers are surveyed–centers on bandwidth. Some 48 percent expect value to be provided by higher speeds.
As a corollary, if usage plans do not create incentives for offloading access to Wi-Fi, and if speeds really are an order of magnitude faster on the mobile network, more consumers will have incentives to simply remain on the mobile network, all the time.
Up to this point, in the 3G and 4G eras, mobile consumers have tended to rely extensively on Wi-Fi for their internet connectivity needs, at about a 10:1 ratio.
But that might change in the 5G era, especially if usage plans are based on “unlimited use,” which takes away the financial value proposition for switching to Wi-Fi. In other words, if users do not save money by offloading, and if user experience on 5G networks exceeds that of Wi-Fi, they are probably going to stay on the mobile network for access.
Some 48 percent of about 6,000 surveyed consumers said they expected to stay on mobile networks, and not log on to Wi-Fi, when using 5G.
Whether that is possible obviously depends on tariffs and available spectrum. In many markets, that will be a result of availability of huge amounts of spectrum in the millimeter wave bands