The impact of 5G stretches far beyond the scope of just the telecoms industry, but businesses must be convinced of its value before widescale adoption can take place

Reports seeking to evaluate the widespread availability and development of 5G for the UK economy vary wildly. A recent study by Vodafone found the value of 5G to the UK could be a whopping £150 billion over 10 years (provided rollouts can be accelerated), while other studies place the figure in the region of £15.7 billion by 2025. However, one thing all of these reports agree on is that 5G has a huge potential to change the UK.


The most recent Total Telecom webinar, titled Supercharging UK plc with 5G – exploring the economic opportunity, saw an expert panel discuss exactly how the 5G revolution is going to change the playing field of industry.


Eman Martin-Vignerte, Director at Bosch Howard Benn, noted how the technologies unlocked by 5G make its economic impact fundamentally different to that of 4G.


“Its no longer a case of people talking to their smartphone – its machines talking to machines,” said Martin-Vignerte. “In the near future, we’re going to have billions of devices talking to each other nearly instantly.”


But it is not just the vast scale of device connectivity that will reshape the UK’s industry, it’s also the speed at which new verticals can be explored.


“What 5G brings is an incredible amount of flexibility,” Howard Benn, VP Communications Research at the Samsung R&D Institute.  “Once the networks are out there, you can add new verticals at a very low cost. I think in the next couple of years we’re going to see a whole raft of these new verticals that are going to have low cost access to these exciting services. That is going to transform the UK.”


However, as always with new technology, achieving adoption at scale is the real challenge. The new verticals opened up by 5G are unknown territory and will rely on attractive use cases to demonstrate value in a way which captures the industry’s attention and imagination.


“The greatest challenge with these new verticals is adoption. The real prize will come when we can drive it at scale, especially with some industry bodies behind it. For operators, it will be a whole new revenue stream for them that they’ve never had access to before,” explained Mark Stansfeld, chair of West Midlands 5G.


With the potential to unlock huge growth in verticals ranging from health to manufacturing to utilities to smart cities, the potential of 5G cannot be underestimated. But the next level of connectivity also brings with it new challenges, such as cybersecurity and data privacy. With so many new data access points, security is an issue that scales with 5G.


“The technology is not the problem, it is privacy. Data safety and privacy will be paramount in the connected world 5G will help create,” explained Benn.


Want to learn more about how 5G is ushering in the next industrial revolution? The full webinar is available to watch for free via Total Telecom. Register here for access


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New GCHQ report could see Huawei phased out of UK 5G
European telcos: We’re ready to “lift the continent out of this recession”
5G will unlock the potential of Fixed Wireless Access