Europeans are positive about 5G, they believe it will improve their user experience and intend to deploy it to empower their own business, according to a new pan-European 5G sentiment survey from telecoms association ETNO.
However, there is evidence that disinformation is having some traction and that citizens are eager to see more, and better, communication on 5G from their governments.
This comes just two weeks since the latest European Commission recommendation on 5G, which calls for Member States to step up their efforts to facilitate network roll-out.
The survey market research consultant IPSOS is based on interviews with over 7.000 citizens across 23 European countries, including major markets such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK.
5G roll-out: Europeans are aware and positive
IPSOS found that virtually all Europeans (96 per cent) are aware of 5G, with one in four declaring that they know the technology “very well”. There are also major age differences, with younger generations (<34 y.o.) being more informed than older ones.
In terms of attitudes, 54 per cent Europeans are “positive” about 5G, while 36 per cent declare themselves “neutral”. Interviewees aged 18-34 are also significantly more positive about 5G compared to other generations. What is more, positive attitudes appear to correlate with better awareness and information.
Disinformation: gaining traction?
While the majority of Europeans is positive towards 5G, 10 per cent of those interviewed hold a negative view on this technology. IPSOS also tested some ‘5G myths’ and found that while a small minority believes in them, a substantial amount of Europeans isn’t sure that they are false either. For example, 21 per cent of those interviewed believe it is true that “5G is harmless to bees”, with 63 per cent being unsure what to make of the statement and only 16 per cent believing it is false.
Governments – and telcos – are expected to speak up
IPSOS found that one in three respondents gets their 5G information from social media, but that the most trusted sources of information are technology websites, telecom companies and governments respectively. Social media and advertisement are the least trusted sources. What is more, only 8 per cent of the respondents learned about 5G from government sources, with over 40 per cent citizens saying they are “not satisfied” with government communication on 5G.
In addition, when measuring the impact of communication, IPSOS found that “government and telecom operators have the highest impact on attitude towards 5G”, signalling that both are expected to speak up more.
Businesses are eager to take up 5G
Europeans are also clear that they expect 5G to make a major difference for the economy, with 85 per cent of those interviewed thinking that “5G is important for business”. What is more, among those interviewees who hold managerial responsibility in their big and small companies, 51 per cent said they “intend to implement 5G” in their company.
“This survey shows that Europeans are eagerly waiting for 5G,” stated Lise Fuhr, ETNO Director General. “However, results also ring the alarm bell on disinformation and show a clear demand for trusted information. As we move to speed up roll-out, it’s important for public authorities to step up their support.”
“The disinformation and the share of voice of a minority of 5G critics is a call for more fact-based information from trusted sources, such as governments,” added Gerd Callewaert, Country Manager, IPSOS. “The study shows a clear need to further argue for the advantages of 5G beyond simply ‘faster and better’ connectivity”.