A new survey from UK5G shows that 70% of businesses are already using 5G or planning to do so, with almost three quarters saying they understood the new technology’s benefits

Late last week, a new study from YouGov was announced that showed the British public to be largely sceptical about the benefits of 5G, with just one in five UK respondents saying that 5G would benefit their life. In fact, with 44% of respondents saying the technology would not benefit them (the remaining 36% were unsure), the UK ranked 26th out of the 28 nations surveyed when it came to 5G optimism.

The study also showed that UK fell far below the global average in terms of acknowledging 5G’s benefits, with 51% of total respondents saying that 5G is or would benefit their lives.

To a certain extent, this relative lack of enthusiasm for 5G is understandable. In the past couple of years, 5G has been the subject of major advertising campaigns from the UK’s mobile operators, some of which have even seen intervention from the Advertising Standards Authority due to their exuberant claims. But despite the hype, for most customers around the country 5G has so far offered little more than a minor boost to their mobile internet speeds, with no meaningful differentiators from existing 4G services.

That said, this situation could change in the near future. In 2022, standalone 5G architecture (i.e., a 5G network using a 5G core, not a 4G core) is beginning to be rolled out and this should enable some of the more exiting and unique consumer uses cases that 5G has long promised, like virtual and augmented reality. Perhaps only then, when more vibrant new services are available, will the British public’s dour stance towards 5G begin to be reversed.

But, in contrast to the public at large, UK businesses already appear to be largely in support of 5G adoption. 

This week, a new survey from UK5G has been released, showing that 70% of UK businesses are already using or are planning to use 5G. 

The survey, which polled 300 business, said that 73% of businesses were confident in their understanding of 5G’s benefits, with 66% saying that 5G will have a positive effect on their corporate sustainability efforts and 65% saying it would help improve customer experience.

“5G, along with other forms of advanced communications, has the potential to transform business models, generate new revenue streams by unleashing the Internet of Things, and give organisations new insights through data that enable them to improve the service they provide for customers,” said Bob Driver, the Head of UK5G. “This encouraging research shows the appetite of business in sectors such as the creatives industries, transport and logistics, manufacturing and health and social care, to embrace the opportunities 5G can bring.”

According to the study, 45% of businesses are planning to make investments in 5G by 2023, though 63% of respondents noted the complexity and cost of infrastructure, installation, and integration, as the main challenge towards adopting 5G. 

But despite their overall optimism, over half (58%) of business leaders also said they were still in need of further education when it came to 5G, in order to help their organisations gain the greatest benefit. Interestingly, 46% of these business leaders said they would turn to ‘big tech’ for advice on using 5G effectively, with just 40% saying they would turn to mobile operators.

Are UK enterprises using 5G effectively? How can operators help make Industry 4.0 a reality? Find out from the operators and the wider ecosystem at this year’s live Connected Britain event

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