5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current mobile phones.
Productivity and efficiency gains enabled by 5G’s application will drive business, skills and service change worth US$1.3 trillion to global GDP by 2030.
In Powering Your Tomorrow, PricewaterhouseCoopers quantifies for the first time, 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 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 and the internet of things, 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, China and Japan 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 and Africa 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.
Achieving Better and Faster Outcomes in Health Care
Over half the global economic impact 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 United States and Australia are projected to gain the most from financial services applications: India from smart utilities; China and Germany in manufacturing.
Other industries analysed 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.
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.