Deloitte published a new report, “Digital Consumer Trends 2020,” which shows that 43 percent of U.K. consumers believe 5G technology could be a significant risk to their health. Data from the study was collected in the spring of 2020, reported Telecom TV.
Earlier this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theories regarding a link between the virus and 5G circulated on social media, which spurred tower arson and damage across Europe. Telecom TV explained a key takeaway from Deloitte’s report is that “subscribers might decline to use the technology because they believe it might be, could be, detrimental to their health.”
The Deloitte report concludes that CSPs should “as soon as the time is right” double-down on their 5G marketing and advertising. It adds, “Consumer acceptance of 5G requires a clear and enthusiastic articulation of the major consumer benefits of the technology. These should be explained in terms that are understandable and relatable to the wider market. Marketing materials for 5G should reflect the diversity of their customers, whilst clearly explaining how 5G enables a wide variety of applications. This ranges from the pragmatic, such as increasing chances of connecting in busy areas, to the more audacious, such as remote surgery.”
In a post-COVID world, telecoms need to re-engage in the 5G conversation with the public, including providing “accessible and evidence-based information on the subject.” For now, the main hope seems to be that interest in 5G in the U.K. will “spring back over the next 12 months, as a growing number of 5G devices, including models at mid-tier prices, become available,” reported Telecom TV. Worldwide smartphone sales declined by 20 percent in the first half of the year.
Telecom TV reported that throughout the first wave of the pandemic in the U.K., the country’s comms networks generally held up very well under sudden extreme pressure. Is there a reason for Brits to take-up 5G? The Deloitte report shows that 66 percent of Brits aged between 16 and 75 agree that they “do not know enough about 5G.” Of that total, 74 percent of women say they do not know enough about 5G, while 69 percent of 55- 64-year-olds and 73 percent of those aged between 64 and 75 are also unaware of or baffled by 5G.
‘Worries about health impacts from radio waves have always existed, flaring up at the launch of 3G, 4G and Tetra networks, but misinformation about health impacts from wireless networks is more easily amplified than ever before,” said Paul Lee, global head of technology, media, and telecommunications research at Deloitte. “5G myths have been among the most seen and shared of untruths in 2020, with a cascade of 5G misinformation sweeping across social media, blogs, and fake news sites. The industry has a challenging but pressing task on its hands to educate consumers over the safety of 5G to support the uptake of the technology.”
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