The biggest carriers in the US have been pushing the promise of their 5G networks for years, telling consumers to consider high-speed and broadband downloads on the go. But so far, despite the rapid rollout of 5G networks by companies like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, Americans have been slow to embrace the next-generation mobile network. Why are Americans lagging behind when other countries are rapidly adopting technology?
There are a number of reasons Americans are lagging behind in adopting 5G, according to a survey conducted by Speedcheck.org. At the top of the list: a simple lack of suitable devices. More than one in three Americans does not have a 5G-capable phone. There are a number of reasons for this slow adoption, but the most likely explanation is that most people just keep their phones on for longer. The end of the two-year contracts that lock you into a device and encourage you to upgrade or swap it regularly has resulted in people extending the life of their smartphones. 5G-enabled smartphones have only been available for a few cycles – the iPhone 12 was the first of Apple’s flagship phones to support the network – many people just haven’t bought their first 5G smartphone yet. That could change soon, however. According to Fierce Wireless, 60% of smartphones sold in the United States in the third quarter of the fiscal year were 5G compatible.
The next biggest problem for Americans is the lack of 5G service in their area. While major mobile carriers claim to cover up to 90% of the country with 5G service, Speecheck.org’s survey found that nearly three in 10 Americans still do not have access to a 5G network. Currently, T-Mobile offers the best 5G coverage, both in terms of availability and performance, according to a study conducted by OpenSignal. As other networks catch up, more Americans will be able to connect.
A small percentage of Americans, 6.3%, indicated that their mobile provider does not yet support 5G. While much of the conversation about mobile service providers centers around companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, smaller carriers don’t have the infrastructure to switch to 5G at this point. Another 8.4 expressed concern that 5G was just too expensive right now. Currently, most carriers do not charge more for access to their 5G network.
Another 6.4% of Americans express concern about health issues that may arise from 5G networks. There was a time when people feared that 5G towers would cause the coronavirus to spread. This has been largely debunked and should not be of concern. There is no indication that there are any health issues related to 5G networks.