Upgrading the UK’s mobile infrastructure to 5G could add as much as £158 billion to the country’s economy over the next ten years, a new report has revealed, suggesting that this kind of technology could give the country a very real financial boost as it recovers from the pandemic.
The Vodafone and WPI Economics report – Levelling up: How 5G Can Boost Productivity Across the UK – shows just how significant an impact 5G could have throughout the entire country, calling on the government to unleash the technology’s full potential by making digital central to its economic recovery plan.
Key areas have been highlighted where 5G technology can support economic growth, including high quality digital infrastructure that will enable people to carry on working remotely, which will make rural areas more attractive places in which to live and work.
Private networks will also mean that manufacturers can increase efficiency dramatically, which will help revive the sector around the country, and the technology will also be essential to allowing reliable and secure remote access to public services, including education and healthcare.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “5G will play a vital role as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. 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.”
Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman made further comments, saying that networks have already been turned on in over 70 towns and cities, with £200 million also being invested in trials to accelerate deployment and support the development of new applications.
The benefits of 5G for businesses are many and varied, including increased productivity, allowing companies to be more globally competitive, boosting small business growth, allowing new industries to emerge and driving innovation of new products and services.
The importance of remote working has been highlighted by the pandemic and 5G certainly has a vital role to play in this regard, as growing numbers are likely to continue working from home because of social distancing measures, which will be in place for quite some time – possibly even years.
5G means that businesses will be able to take advantage of unbroken access to superfast internet connections, meaning that augmented and virtual reality can become more commonplace – revolutionising the way we work in the near future.
Network slicing means that businesses may also be able to practically own their own private 5G networks, setting them up according to their specific business needs. This enables network operators to provide dedicated virtual networks and it is expected to have a critical role to play in 5G networks because of the new use cases and services 5G will support.
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