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5G projected to bring $1.4tn to global economy over next decade

Survey from Huawei and STL Partners calculates that 5G mobile technologies are set to create an extra $1.4tn in gross domestic product for worldwide economies over the next decade

The benefits arising from 5G communications networks have been much touted, and a survey by Huawei and STL Partners has now put a value figure on them.

The research, commissioned by the leading comms tech company, challenges operators, government regulators and other suppliers to press ahead with the roll-out of 5G networks to spur economic growth.

It calculates that 5G mobile technologies are set to create an extra $1.4tn in gross domestic product (GDP) for worldwide economies over the next decade, with healthcare, manufacturing and retail the key industries most likely to benefit from 5G.

The study predicts that the next-generation comms platform is said to be able to help healthcare professionals treat more than 850 million extra outpatients a year by 2030, grow the manufacturing sector by 4% – just under $740bn – over the next decade and significantly reduce global emissions.

Drilling deeper into manufacturing, which the survey identifies will benefit most, the researchers believe that 5G will both reduce costs and unlock new income streams for the manufacturing industry, making it easier to monitor and analyse production in real time using far more data than has been possible before. They add that 5G will act as an enabler, helping factories and production lines reduce machine downtime, cut down on wasted resources and reduce maintenance.  

In the retail sector, uptake in future 5G usage is most likely to be around tracking goods, warehouse automation and immersive augmented reality, where shoppers will be able to experience and try goods before they buy. For healthcare, 5G technology is forecast to be able to free up more than four million extra bed days in hospitals around the world and help ambulance services handle 40 million more emergency responses a year by 2030.

The survey also notes that a fast roll-out of 5G technologies could reduce global carbon emissions by half a billion tonnes by 2030, through reduced energy use in the core and mobile access networks. This is the equivalent of the emissions from international aviation for a full year.

“In a world where we are seeing economic slowdown, 5G provides great opportunities to transform industries, creating brand new business models and potentially unleashing $1.4tn in gross domestic product,” said Huawei senior vice-president Victor Zhang, commenting on the research.

“But these opportunities will only be achieved if industry, government and regulators work together,” added Zhang. “However, the benefits of 5G will not immediately be felt equally around the world, with high-income countries that already contribute the most to global GDP benefiting first, given they have the most money to re-invest in to adopting new technologies. However, as we reach 2030, this disparity and imbalance will start to be redressed.”

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