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5G May Boost Annual UK Biz Revenue by £8.3bn to £15.7bn by 2025

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 (8:25 am) - Score 688
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A new report from Barclays Corporate Banking has predicted that the roll-out of new ultrafast 5G mobile (mobile broadband) networks across the United Kingdom could increase annual business revenues by between at least £8.3bn (pessimistic outlook) to £15.7bn (optimistic outlook) come 2025.

At present O2, Vodafone, Three UK and EE (BT) are already conducting 5G technology trials using the 3.4GHz radio spectrum band and many of those expect to begin a limited commercial roll-out later this year, although their primary large-scale deployments won’t begin until 2020; after Ofcom has released additional bands through their forthcoming auctions (assuming those aren’t delayed and that’s a possibility).

The 5G service itself is capable of extremely low latency and multi-Gigabit mobile broadband speeds, which can be delivered via both ultrafast Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) style connections to premises and to individual users in the mobile environment (Smartphones etc.).

The new report – ‘5G: A Transformative Technology‘ – suggests that, even in the most pessimistic outlook, 5G would still carry a significant economic boost and by 2030 it could have also helped to create a further 101,300 to 170,900 jobs (pessimistic vs optimistic outlook). The sectors likely to see the biggest boost (optimistic figures) are distribution (£3.6bn), manufacturing (£2bn), professional services (£1.1bn) and business services (£1bn).

Apparently some of the top performing regions will be London (£4.1bn), the South East (£2.5bn), the North West (£1.4bn), East of England (£1.3bn), the South West (£1.1bn) and Scotland (£1.1bn).

Top Predicted 5G Benefits
Increased business efficiency – 31%
Ability to use/exploit ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) tech – 27%
Facilitate communications with more customers – 19%
Reduce business costs – 18%
Increased biz output / better coverage / more opportunities for trade – 14%

NOTE: Based on a survey of 526 senior managers from medium and large enterprises.

The above results stem from the proportion of respondents who expect 5G to aid their business growth, although it should be noted that nearly half did NOT expect to see any revenue increase from 5G. Likewise 62% of managers knew what 5G is but over a third weren’t sure how it will work and 14% didn’t even know what it was. Meanwhile most respondents didn’t know that it would be arriving within the next 1-2 years and just 9% had allocated “significant” funds to help take advantage of it.

Barclays further noted that 58% of businesses are already benefiting from faster communications technology (e.g. 4G and ultrafast broadband ISP connections), which they say have delivered various gains (e.g. operating across disparate locations – 59%, communicating with customers – 49% and connecting multiple machines and devices 48%). Businesses like this are already said to be well primed for 5G.

Sean Duffy, Barclays Head of TMT, said:

“The rollout of 5G offers a huge opportunity for the UK. We’re seeing massive potential for business growth, which ultimately delivers a positive knock-on effect for the whole economy.

While the Government and network providers are already working hard to introduce 5G in the UK, we found that businesses do not yet have enough clarity about how they will benefit in the long-run. What’s more, nearly four in ten business leaders still aren’t entirely sure what 5G is.

To ensure the UK can realise the full potential of an accelerated rollout, the Government, mobile operators and other corporate partners – including financial institutions – have a job to do in order to raise awareness amongst businesses so they can harness 5G. This support is crucial for businesses to make smart investments which will unlock the power of 5G.”

As ever there are some big caveats with forecasts like this, not least of which is the question of how to accurately quantify the economic impact of good 4G connections vs 5G. The latter could easily be said to have been over-hyped and indeed a lot of the stated benefits can already be delivered by today’s fastest 4G networks (Gigabit speeds are possible with enough capacity).

Last year a study from Ofcom noted that there are diminishing returns from faster broadband speeds (here), although admittedly this didn’t consider the impact on other areas such as faster latency. On the other hand latency only has a truly noticeable benefit for certain very specific types of business processes / systems (e.g. remote control applications, VR, time-sensitive stock trades etc.).

Inevitably new 5G services will need time to roll-out (set to take several years) and be adopted before we can truly see what kind of impact it will have.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar CarlT

    What complete nonsense.

    Manufacturing require stable networks that can consistently handle their data load. They don’t need super low latency as of course their work comes in bundles and a constant stream of telemetry and control traffic is fine so jitter is more relevant. They certainly don’t need ultrafast bandwidth. The data being transferred is constant but low bandwidth – these are factories not data centers.

    They start moving to 3D printing en masse then maybe. That seem likely as a solution for large scale manufacturing?

    Yours, a guy who has helped various enterprises deploy new networks to their factory facilities. Reliability is all.

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