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Health and social care to gain the most from 5G efficiency gains

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, PwC 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, United States and the United Kingdom.

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 United States (US$484bn), China (US$220bn) and Japan (US$76bn) 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 & Africa (EMEA) 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.

Wilson Chow, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry Leader, PwC China, comments: “These numbers quantify impact, but perhaps more important, our study reflects the value of 5G – new levels of connectivity and collaboration mean companies will be able to see, do and achieve more. It will open up new opportunities for growth and change as organisations rethink and reconfigure the way they operate in the post-pandemic world.”

“With the pandemic accelerating digitalisation across all sectors, 5G will act as a further catalyst. It will emerge in this decade as a fundamental piece of our societal infrastructure and as a platform for driving the competitiveness of national economies, new business models, skills and industries.”

Achieving better, faster outcomes in health and social care

Over half the global economic impact (US$530bn) 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 & 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:

  • SMART utilities management applications will support environmental targets to reduce carbon and waste through enabling combined smart meters and grids to deliver energy savings, and improving waste and water management through tracking of waste and water leakage (US$330bn).
  • Consumer and media applications include: over the top gaming, real time advertising and customer services (US$254bn)
  • Manufacturing and heavy industry applications include: monitoring and reducing defects, increased autonomous vehicle use (US$134bn)
  • Financial services applications including reducing fraud and improving customer experiences (US$86bn)

Wilson Chow comments: “5G is more than mobile connectivity. It puts a new lens on advancing productivity and rethinking entire business models for the future. Given the scale of potential and its impacts, every organisation will need a plan for 5G’s implementation within five years across technology and business strategies to maximise opportunities and prepare for how they integrate their technology and business strategies, and engage with customers, supply chain and regulators.”

Policy & 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.

Wilson Chow comments: “With any technology, policy engagement, transparency and public trust are critical factors. Whether it’s considering the use of self driving vehicles or telemedicine, how data is managed, infrastructure deployed, or how different sectors collaborate, business and government need to shit from focusing on regulating a technology, to promoting transparency in 5G’s application, building and sustaining public trust in its use and potential.”

Pinsent Masons advises on the £28m government funded 5G test project

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on its innovative joint £28m investment in 5G test projects to showcase the capability of 5G technology across a range of industries and identify commercially sustainable long-term use cases.

As the latest funding competition run by the DCMS’ 5G Testbeds and Trials programme, 5G Create was run as an open call for 5G use cases, providing successful applicants with public funds to support their testing of 5G technology. Over £28m joint funding from government and industry will be invested across nine different projects, looking at whether 5G can improve construction process monitoring, optimise predictive maintenance of port infrastructure and improve the traceability of goods passing through ports.

Projects will also explore how 5G can support live-streaming by film makers in extreme locations, and provide for a more immersive remote experience of tourist attractions, sports events and the natural world through the use of augmented and virtual reality technology.

Having worked with DCMS on its 5G Testbeds and Trials programme since 2017, Pinsent Masons provided support around funding agreements and compliance with procurement and state aid law. The team was led by Simon Colvin (Partner) and included Justin Chan (Legal Director) and Nick Hutton (Associate).

Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: “5G is about so much more than faster mobile internet speeds so we’re investing millions to help some of Britain’s brightest innovators explore the huge potential of the technology to improve and enrich our lives.

“The projects we’ve selected will demonstrate how the blistering speeds of 5G can put some rocket fuel in our economy and help businesses bounce back from the pandemic.”

Global head of TMT and partner at Pinsent Masons, Simon Colvin said: “It’s clear from the breadth of projects that are receiving government support through the 5G Create competition, just how wide ranging the potential applications of 5G technology are.

“The real value from the trials will be derived through unlocking the commercially sustainable 5G use cases. This will come from putting new ideas like private networks, edge computing and Open RAN to the test in a real world setting. I look forward to seeing the trials develop in the coming months and understanding more around how 5G technology enables them to succeed.”

Apple and Qualcomm end their “Legal Beef” and drop lawsuits

The convoluted legal battle between Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm may be coming to an end. The companies said Tuesday that they’re dismissing all litigation against each other. Apple will pay Qualcomm an undisclosed sum as part of the settlement, which includes a six-year licensing agreement between the two.

The settlement also covers suits brought by Apple’s manufacturing partners, which wanted Qualcomm to repay $9 billion—a number that reportedly could have been tripled under antitrust law—that they say the chipmaker overcharged them for patent royalties.

The announcement came while Qualcomm’s lawyer was delivering his opening remarks in a trial of numerous claims and counterclaims that started Tuesday morning in San Diego, according to CNET. Qualcomm told investors last year that Apple would stop using its wireless chips, switching instead to chips made by competitors like Intel.

One potential catalyst for the settlement emerged a few hours later: Intel said it won’t make wireless modems capable of connecting to the coming generation of 5G networks. Earlier this year, Intel had said it would have sample 5G modems ready in 2019, and officially launch the products next year. With Intel no longer an option, that would explain why Apple needed to work out a new deal with Qualcomm. There are few 5G-capable networks operating yet, but Huawei, Samsung, and other smartphone makers have announced 5G-capable phones based on Qualcomm’s wireless chips.

The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm involved the unusual way Qualcomm licenses its technology to other companies. Qualcomm generally charges handset makers like Apple and Huawei around 5 percent of the total price of a phone for the right to use its technology, up to about $20 per device, according to a legal brief filed by Qualcomm. In other words, if you pay $300 for a phone that uses Qualcomm technology, $15 of that might go to the company, even if there are no chips made by Qualcomm in the device. If you paid $1,000, Qualcomm would get $20. Those licensing fees come on top of what a manufacturer would pay for Qualcomm’s chips. Apple referred to this as double-dipping and argued that Qualcomm only got away with it because it effectively holds a monopoly on high-end wireless chip technologies.

Though terms of the agreement were not disclosed, investors viewed it as good news for Qualcomm. Its shares rose 23 percent. Apple shares were little changed.

It’s not necessarily the end of the legal woes that have pitted Qualcomm against regulators around the world in recent years. The company is still awaiting a decision in an antitrust suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission alleging the company uses its dominant position in the wireless chip market to overcharge customers to use its technology.

During the FTC trial, Qualcomm said it doesn’t factor the value of its intellectual property into its chip prices. In other words, Qualcomm claims that it essentially sells the chips at a discount and then makes up for it with the patent licensing fee. It’s an odd arrangement, but it’s one that Qualcomm has had in place for decades, long before it became a major player in the semiconductor industry.

The history of Apple and Qualcomm’s legal beef sounds a bit like a Game of Thrones recap. Apple sued Qualcomm in January 2017, alleging that Qualcomm had withheld $1 billion in royalty rebates in retaliation over Apple’s cooperation with antitrust regulators in South Korea, where Qualcomm was hit with a $854 million fine in 2016.

Qualcomm countersued Apple that spring, claiming that Apple deliberately slowed Qualcomm modems used in some iPhones to cover up slower performance of Intel-made modems used in other iPhones. Apple retaliated by withholding payments for the patent licensing fees its manufacturing partners were supposed to pay to Qualcomm, and by expanding its lawsuit to include the double-dipping allegations. Qualcomm responded by suing Apple’s manufacturers over the unpaid licensing fees and by suing Apple itself for patent infringement.