More Americans want 5G phones than ever as Apple launches iPhone 13

Interest in the 5G has been steadily rising, but a hot new device compatible with lightning-fast network speeds will drive demand for carriers to further build out their networks.

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  • Ben Meyerson Newsletter editor
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Apple just announced its newest iPhone – the iPhone 13, the second wave of phones with 5G technology from the company. It’s the latest sign of adoption for a technology that has broad implications for remaking the world around us – and new Ipsos data shows that there’s growing desire for the 5G phones, particularly among young adults and wealthier Americans.

5G, which is the latest wave of widely available cellular internet technology, allows for lightning-fast internet speeds – in ideal situations, much faster than most home internet connections. While the technology has been available for years, it’s become more and more useful as cellular carriers build out the networks across the world.

The iPhone 13’s release comes as a majority of Americans (52%) say they’re familiar with 5G technology, according to polling from the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker from just before the phone was formally announced. Knowledge of – and desire for – 5G devices has been steadily rising.

  • One in three consumers (33%) now say having 5G technology in their phones is important – an increase from 29% in February
  • Even those who don’t say the tech is important to them say they have – or expect to have – a phone with 5G: two in five (38%) say they have a phone with 5G, up from 34% in February

“It’s clear that consumers are aware that 5G is the future, and the iPhone’s upgraded technology will drive even broader adoption and demand,” said Beth Ritchey, a senior client officer in telecom at Ipsos. “We’re going to see 5G really break out in the next year, paving the way for carriers to further build out their networks – which will change our lives in other ways, some we haven’t even imagined yet.”

Some of the strongest demand for 5G phones comes from young adults and wealthier Americans, nearly half of whom say they either have or are planning to buy a phone with 5G.

  • One in two young adults between 18 and 34 (47%) say they either have purchased, or are planning to purchase, a 5G-enabled phone. Only 37% of 35- to 54-year-olds say the same, and 31% of those older than 55.
  • 46% of households with income over $100,000 say they have or are planning to get 5G phones, compared to 35% of those making $50K-$100K and 33% of those making less than $50K.

It will still take time for carriers to fully build out their 5G networks, given that the technology requires more infrastructure than existing towers offer. But as more devices like the iPhone 13 reach the market, demand will continue to rise from consumers, spreading beyond typical early-adopter demographics.

The author(s)

  • Ben Meyerson Newsletter editor

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