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5G economy to spur huge GDP, job growth across the US

BCG study estimates large contribution to employment and GDP over the next decade, through the roll-out of next-generation mobile infrastructure

The analyst community along with the telecoms sector has always been on the bullish side regarding the benefits of 5G networks, but a study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is being particularly optimistic regarding their potential in the US, calculating that 5G networks could create about 4.5 million jobs and add roughly $1.5tn to the country’s GDP.

In the study commissioned by wireless industry association CTIA, BCG’s analysis positioned the new frontier of 5G by examining the effect that the previous generation of communications services had when commercialised around in 2010. It said that by driving new services such as ride sharing and music streaming, the 4G economy powered the US economy to recovery after the 2008-2009 recession. Likewise, the report noted that the 5G economy is expected to spur innovation that as yet can’t be quantified but will almost certainly transform everyday life.

However, while it noted that 5G roll-out in the US would create economic disruptions outside the existing regulatory paradigm, as was the case with 4G, the report also warned that policymakers, regulators and the private sector would need to coordinate to ensure that 5G roll-out is smooth and the country had the necessary talent to capture the full benefits.

In the round, the study observed that 5G would contribute to US GDP and employment growth by enabling innovation that will transform all sectors of America’s economy across cities and communities of all sizes.

BCG’s research suggests that three industries in particular will benefit from these 5G use cases: information services, which is forecast to see job growth of 205,000 and contribute $217bn to GDP; manufacturing, which will see a boost of 380,000 jobs and contribute $165bn to GDP; and healthcare, which will likely see 341,000 new jobs and contribute $104bn to GDP.

“Our analysis shows the 5G economy’s impact will be broad and deep, unlocking significant benefits across the US and enabling new use cases across all industries, including healthcare, education and agriculture,” said Enrique Duarte Melo, a BCG managing director and senior partner and lead author of the report. “The GDP growth and job creation that America’s 5G networks are beginning to unlock will be instrumental in jump-starting the country’s economic recovery.”

“BCG’s study confirms the significant benefits of the 5G economy, today and for years to come,” said CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. “With three nationwide 5G networks launched and 5G smartphones hitting the market, America’s wireless industry is building the foundation for our country’s economic recovery.”

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However, BCG’s analysis also said that such benefits were conditional on a number of key steps being undertaken. It said that to bring the predicted benefits to fruition, US state, local and federal governments must work to keep 5G’s roll-out on track.

The analyst warned that delays in network infrastructure build-out or in making more licensed spectrum available would carry significant opportunity costs, and that at a national level, every six-month delay in 5G network deployment could, on average, mean missing out on $25bn of the potential 5G benefits from 2020 through 2030.

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