Productivity and efficiency gains enabled by 5G’s application will drive business, skills and service change worth $1.3 trillion to global GDP by 2030, according to PwC, a global accounting firm.
In Powering Your Tomorrow, a 22-page report, PwC quantifies the economic impact of new and existing uses of 5G in utilities, health and social care, consumer, media, and financial services across eight economies with advanced rollout: Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, USA and the United Kingdom (UK).
More than a faster version of mobile connectivity on 4G, 5G’s speed, reliability, reduced energy usage and massive connectivity will be transformative for businesses and wider society, enabling ubiquitous access to super fast broadband. Used in combination with investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), 5G can be used as a platform to enable business and society to realise the full benefits of emerging technology advances.
Economic gains are projected across all economies assessed in the study, as 5G offers the potential to rethink business models, skills, products and services, with the gains accelerating beginning in 2025 as 5G-enabled applications become more widespread
Based on the study, the USA ($484bn), China ($220bn) and Japan ($76bn) will experience the largest uplift as a result of 5G technology applications, due to the size of their economies and strong modern industrial production sectors.
At a regional level Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) is expected to benefit the most from manufacturing applications of 5G, due to the size of the manufacturing sectors. It demonstrates the potential for regional competitive advantage through approaches to the adoption and regulation of the technology.
Wilson Chow, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry Leader, PwC China, said, “These numbers quantify impact, but perhaps more important, our study reflects the value of 5G – new levels of connectivity and collaboration mean companies will be able to see, do and achieve more. It will open up new opportunities for growth and change as organizations rethink and reconfigure the way they operate in the post-pandemic world.
“With the pandemic accelerating digitalization across all sectors, 5G will act as a further catalyst. It will emerge in this decade as a fundamental piece of our societal infrastructure and as a platform for driving the competitiveness of national economies, new business models, skills and industries,” he added.
Achieving better, faster outcomes in health and social care
Over half the global economic impact (US$530bn) will be driven by the transformation of health and social care experience for patients, providers and medical staff within the next ten years.
While the acceleration of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic provided a glimpse of the future of healthcare, remote care is just one area in which 5G can enable both better health outcomes and cost savings.
5G’s applications include remote monitoring and consultations, real time in-hospital data sharing, improved doctor-patient communications and automation in hospitals to reduce health care costs.
Regional and sector impacts
At a sector level, impacts vary for individual economies. The USA and Australia are projected to gain the most from financial services applications: India from smart utilities; China and Germany in manufacturing. Other industries analyzed in the study show the significant potential of new and existing applications over the next decade, driving changes in skills, jobs, consumer products and regulation:
SMART utilities management applications will support environmental targets to reduce carbon and waste through enabling combined smart meters and grids to deliver energy savings, and improving waste and water management through tracking of waste and water leakage (US$330bn).
Consumer and media applications include: over the top (OTT) gaming, real time advertising and customer services ($254bn)
Manufacturing and heavy industry applications include: monitoring and reducing defects, increased autonomous vehicle use ($134bn)
Financial services applications including reducing fraud and improving customer experiences ($86bn)
“5G is more than mobile connectivity,” Chow said. ”It puts a new lens on advancing productivity and rethinking entire business models for the future. Given the scale of potential and its impacts, every organization will need a plan for 5G’s implementation within five years across technology and business strategies to maximize opportunities and prepare for how they integrate their technology and business strategies, and engage with customers, supply chain and regulators.”
Policy and Trust
The study highlights that the reach of 5G’s technology potential will require businesses and government to consider new approaches to regulatory and consumer engagement – focusing on how the technology is used.
“With any technology, policy engagement, transparency and public trust are critical factors,” Chow said. “Whether it’s considering the use of self-driving vehicles or telemedicine, how data is managed, infrastructure deployed, or how different sectors collaborate, business and government need to shit from focusing on regulating a technology, to promoting transparency in 5G’s application, building and sustaining public trust in its use and potential.”