5G could boost the UK economy by billions but more investment is needed

The benefits of 5G could be worth up to £7bn ($8.5bn) a year to the UK economy by 2030, but more needs to be done to ensure the country doesn't miss out on the benefits.

Research from Vodafone shows that while the 5G rollout has so far focused on major cities, towns and smaller cities are at risk of losing out.

The report identifies 58 local authority areas which would see a high or very high benefit from a good investment environment for 5G -- and which would fall further behind if investment continues to be limited to major cities. These areas are in every region of the UK except London, and include County Durham, Swansea, Midlothian, North East Somerset, Pendle and Sheffield.

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Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone UK says, "5G technology enables both massive innovation and huge gains in productivity, especially for industrial uses such as smart factories, and public services such as hospitals which will require ultra-reliable and ultra-low-latency communications. But the benefits of this will not be felt equally across the UK in the current regulatory and policy environment -- we have to ensure the UK can attract investment in future technologies."

Among the Vodafone report's recommendations is that the government publish an updated 5G strategy which sets out specific ambitions for the rollout of full 5G networks, underpinned by policy and regulatory reform that would enable these ambitions to be met.

It also says the government could use its purchasing power to boost demand by, for example, the installation of smart energy management systems in all public buildings. Planning rules also need to be written to ensure that they don't block the installation of 5G infrastructure.

"As our research reveals, there is a £7bn per year difference between getting this wrong and getting this right," adds Essam. "We want to see the whole of the UK -- and in particular our smaller towns and cities -- enjoying the incredible benefits that the 5G revolution can deliver."

The full report is available from the Vodafone site.

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