5G promises trillion-dollar boost to post-Covid global economic recovery

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Another report has put forward the potential economic and societal benefits of the wider availability of 5G connectivity, suggesting the effects could be heightened by the need for recovery post-coronavirus.

The study by STL Partners says 5G could be worth $1.5 trillion to the global economy by 2030 with next generation networks stimulating growth and driving productivity at a time when countries are struggling with reduced activity due to the pandemic.

Specifically, the report looked at eight industries that stand to benefit the most from the transition to 5G – including manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and logistics.

5G economy

The report was commissioned by Huawei, which will naturally benefit from increased sales of its networking equipment to its operator customers and is eager to promote its role in this revolution given its recent struggles with authorities in the US and UK.

Whilst 5G is expected to deliver a range of consumer benefits, such as faster mobile data, the truly revolutionary outcomes will be in industry thanks to greater capacity and ultra-low latency. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will become a reality while other applications will transform existing processes and enable entirely new ways of working.

Some of the benefits will result from industry-specific use cases but there is scope for cross-industry applications. The report says that connected traffic infrastructure will aid multiple sectors and generate $200 trillion alone.

But the authors were eager to point out that 5G is more than just about economic value (at least in countries where healthcare is readily available and affordable). The report predicts enhanced healthcare technologies could allow an additional one billion patients to be treated by 2030, presumably through 5G innovations like remote monitoring.

Meanwhile, enhancements to the renewable energy sector could reduce carbon emissions by 2.3 billion tones by the end of the decade.

The report concludes by urging operators, industry leaders and governments to work together and reiterated calls for a pro-investment climate. For example, it has urged governments not to attempt to profit excessively from spectrum auctions and instead look forward to increased indirect revenues from taxation resulting from additional economic activity.  

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.