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More education needed to maximise economic benefits of 5G says Barclays

5G mobile communications could supercharge the UK economy by up to £15.7bn per year by 2025, according to the most optimistic scenario (rapid roll-out/enhanced uptake) outlined in a new report from Barclays Corporate Banking

Even at today’s rate of progress, 5G: A Transformative Technology states that the UK economy might receive a boost of £13 billion, as peak data rates 20 times faster than 4G and simultaneous connections for one million devices per square kilometre drive innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The sectors with the most potential for growth are distribution (£3.6bn), manufacturing (£2bn), professional services (£1.1bn) and business services (£1bn).

These benefits are not guaranteed, and the report warns that a slower than anticipated roll-out and lower 5G take-up by consumers and businesses could limit the economic benefit to £8.3bn of added revenue.

Sean Duffy, Head of TMT at Barclays, says it is concerning that just 39% of decision makers know how their business can make the most of 5G and that only 15% of the 526 businesses surveyed are currently thinking about how they can harness the technology.

He said: “The Government, mobile operators and other corporate partners have a job to do to raise awareness amongst businesses. This support is crucial for businesses to make smart investments that will unlock the power of 5G.”

Mobile providers are starting to introduce 5G capabilities on a large scale, with pilots underway in London, the Midlands, Edinburgh and Belfast. Vodafone, for example, has started its roll-out of 5G to UK airports and railways, with 5G trials at Manchester airport (see caption) and Birmingham New Street railway station.

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