5G rollout could give UK multi-billion pound pandemic recovery

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The Government has been urged to fast-track the deployment of 5G networks in order to help the UK recover from the coronavirus-related economic slump.

New research from Vodafone says that upgrading to 5G networks could benefit the British economy by as much as £158bn over the next decade thanks to boosts in productivity and connectivity.

5G could also lead to the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, as well as improve the provision of public services across the UK as the country looks to bounce back from the devastating effects of coronavirus.

UK 5G boost

Vodafone's report, published to mark a year since it launched its UK 5G network, which is currently available in 44 locations across the country, estimates the UK would enjoy gains of more than £38bn over the next five years if the government were to launch its 5G infrastructure in 2025. 

This is currently two years earlier than planned, as the government wrestles with a long-running debate on who exactly will provide the infrastructure to power the UK's 5G. 

Huawei has long provided much of the country's key infrastructure, but following international pressure, the UK government limited operators to using the Chinese giant's kit in the radio layer of 5G networks – subject to a 35 per cent cap – but not in the core layer.  

Some of the other benefits mentioned in the report include boosts to the new army of remote workers across the country from upgraded digital infrastructure. Vodafone also notes that 

5G private networks will enable manufacturers to dramatically increase efficiency, helping to revive manufacturing across the UK, and that the networks can help provide secure and reliable remote access to public services, including patients accessing healthcare and pupils accessing education.

“5G will play a vital role as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic," said Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO. "It is crucial to recognise the role that fast and reliable connectivity will play in unlocking the digital potential that exists in every nation and region across the UK. 5G will provide new and exciting opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes and across all sectors.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.