A new survey shows that Ireland compares favourably in terms of 5G rollout, but consumers' understanding of its benefits is low.

The Deloitte Ireland's latest Digital Trends Survey said the fact that three operators now have active 5G networks with coverage ranging from 30%-50% of the Irish population by early 2021 is a positive for the development of the technology in Ireland. 

With coverage ranging from 30%-50% of the Irish population by early 2021 is a positive for the development of the technology in Ireland. 

Only 5% of respondents are currently using 5G, while 24% would switch as soon as it is available, the survey reveals. 

This compares favourably with the UK, where only 2% of respondents claim to currently use 5G. 

It noted that nearly half of all 5G users are in the Dublin area and are in the under-35 age category, which it described as "somewhat unsurprising". 

At a time when all three of the main operators - Eir, Three and Vodafone - are actively promoting 5G, Deloitte said it expects the competitive landscape to heat up. 

But the survey also showed that 20% of respondents agreed with the statement that there are health risks associated with 5G and another 25% neither agreed nor disagreed. 

"That is a worryingly high number and is further exacerbated by the fact that based on our survey, a greater proportion of young people aged 18-24 believe there are health risks (27%) compared to 20% overall and 7% of those aged 65-75," commented John Kehoe, audit partner with Deloitte and lead for the Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends survey. 

"There needs to be a concerted effort to promote the benefits of 5G to the general consumer. Overall however, 64% of respondents agreed that they didn't know enough about 5G in general," Mr Kehoe said.

Deloitte said that for many of the world's largest businesses, private 5G deployments will likely become the preferred choice, especially for industrial environments such as manufacturing plants, logistics centres and ports. 

Deloitte predicted that the number of companies testing private 5G deployments is on pace to be well over 1,000 at the end of the year. 

It also predicted that the technology will continue to develop and noted that China was reported to have launched the world's first 6G satellite into orbit earlier this month.