The adoption of 5G technology could be worth up to £43 billion to UK GDP by 2030, a new report from PwC has suggested.
5G promises ultrafast speeds of 1Gbps, enhanced capacity and ultra-low latency. While these characteristics will deliver superior mobile broadband, they will revolutionise industries and public services with entirely new applications.
All four mobile operators have launched commercial 5G services in the UK and are building out coverage across the country. Meanwhile, private 5G networks afford end users a high degree of control over construction and operation.
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UK 5G GDP
PwC analysed the potential of 5G applications and devices across the utilities, health and social care, consumer, media and financial sectors, claiming this is the first time the economic impact has been quantified.
“5G will have a profound effect on the UK economy in the second half of the decade and can play an important role in building back the economy after the coronavirus pandemic,” said Rolf Meakin, telecoms, media, and technology (TMT) partner at PwC.
“The technology has significant potential to improve productivity and create new customer and employee experiences in combination with other emerging technologies including AI, virtual and augmented reality and edge computing.
“Our report shows that all the sectors we looked at in the UK stand to benefit. The deployment of 5G infrastructure focussed on businesses and public sector employers should, therefore, be a high priority as an enabler of economic growth, competitiveness and regional levelling up. In the medium term, the use of 5G networks and applications can also contribute to the achievement of sustainability targets through enabling more efficient networks as well as more flexible ways of working and use of resources.”
Healthcare stands to gain the most with £15 billion of added value, driven by the more efficient use of resources, telemedicine and AI, while retailers and media firms will benefit from more targeted marketing and new mixed reality applications.
Manufacturers will benefit from personalisation and greater efficiencies, while financial services will use technologies such as facial recognition at ATMs to reduce fraud. Finally, government organisations will be able to take advantage of data-driven services through smart traffic, public safety, transportation and waste management applications.
“5G is more than mobile connectivity. It puts a new lens on advancing productivity and rethinking entire business models for the future,” added Wilson Chow, TMT global leader and partner at PwC. “Given the scale of potential and its impacts, every organisation will need a plan for 5G’s implementation within five years across technology and business strategies to maximise opportunities and prepare for how they integrate their technology and business strategies, and engage with customers, supply chain and regulators.”
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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.