What are consumers willing to pay for 5G?

As mobile carriers race to roll out 5G services, a PwC survey of internet users finds that most aren't willing to pay more for 5G internet.

5G technology is create significant economic gains across the globe, changing the way people live and work. Still, investing in network infrastructure isn't always an obvious choice for carriers. 5G deployments can be costly and time consuming, and the return on investment may not be clear. With that in mind, consulting firm PwC surveyed consumers about what 5G is actually worth to them.

The survey of 1,000 home and mobile internet users found that just a third are willing to pay more for the technology -- 33 percent would pay more for a home 5G network, while 31 percent would pay more for mobile 5G. Among all surveyed respondents, consumers on average would pay an extra $5.06 a month for 5G internet service in the home. They'd pay an extra $4.40 a month for 5G internet on mobile.

executive guide

What is 5G? Everything you need to know about the new wireless revolution

It's a capital improvement project the size of the entire planet, replacing one wireless architecture created this century with another one that aims to lower energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Read More

The survey comes as Verizon rolls out its 5G Home services and AT&T makes progress on its standards-based mobile 5G capabilities.

Respondents under 40 years old were more open to paying a premium (38 percent said they would pay more for 5G on mobile ) versus respondents older than 40 (just 25 percent said they'd pay more).

Faster internet is the primary reason consumers said they'd be willing to pay more. However, when asked what feature is most important to them, a plurality of respondents -- about a third -- said reliability. For home internet, nearly as many respondents said security or speed is most important. For mobile internet, just 25 percent cited speed -- more respondents said they cared more about unlimited data, security and cost efficiency.

When asked about changes they'd be willing to make for 5G, 32 percent of respondent said they would switch providers. Twenty-one percent would switch mobile device brands, while 19 percent would switch platforms/OS.

The survey also notes a lack of urgency to move to 5G connectivity. Just 26 percent said they would rush out to buy a 5G-capable mobile device, even if they were not yet eligible for an upgrade.