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5G and the UK's Economic Recovery

5G and the UK's Economic Recovery

Recover and Rebuild with 5G

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unparalleled economic and social challenges for the UK. This presents us with a unique opportunity to recover and rebuild: to create a dynamic, fair and green economy that offers every citizen, wherever they live, the opportunity to improve their lives and make a contribution. From reducing industrial emissions to connecting remote areas through fixed wireless access broadband, Ericsson 5G will be a key enabler of this transformation.

We need a strategy that will help workers adjust to a digital-led economy after coronavirus. It means providing world-class, next generation infrastructure, so that everyone can take those advantages and those opportunities wherever they live - for example using their 5G network to launch the next killer app.” – Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

5G – seizing the UK’s opportunity

5G as the driver of economic recovery

The UK’s experience of lockdown has demonstrated the critical importance of connectivity. As the next generation in mobile connectivity, 5G will deliver significantly greater speeds, lower latency, and the capacity to handle huge increases in the number of connected devices and demand for mobile data. But its benefits go far beyond enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) for consumers.

5G offers the biggest ever open innovation platform - one that will play a fundamental role in the UK’s economic recovery and its global leadership in the industries and technologies of the future. 5G’s unparalleled technical capabilities will underpin everything from the smart manufacturing and the greening of our economy to SMEs’ ability to innovate and scale and the creation of truly smart cities. 

Research commissioned by Ericsson from Analysys Mason demonstrate how much these benefits of 5G could be worth in economic terms. The findings suggest that the full rollout of 5G in the UK could generate £15 billion in net economic benefits by enabling innovative use cases, in addition to the substantial benefits expected from eMBB.

Farmer using drone

Levelling up through 5G

Government policy is focused on levelling up the UK’s diverse regions and nations. In place of today’s gaps between those parts of the UK doing well and those not, the goal is to spread opportunity and prosperity more evenly across the country.  

By underpinning the industries and technologies of the future, 5G has the potential to create broad-based growth, establishing the UK as a leading global economic and technological powerhouse.

But 5G isn’t just about enabling future innovation. Through its deployment via fixed wireless access (FWA) installations, 5G has the ability to bring gigabit connectivity to areas of the country that have until now been considered broadband blackspots.

In an increasingly digital economy, in which flexible and remote working are increasingly the norm, 5G will be key to ensuring that no part of the UK is left behind.

Digital representation of environment AR VR

Investing in the future

When it comes to existing 5G coverage, the UK lags behind global leaders in Asia and is in the middle of the pack compared to its European neighbours. 

While 30% of its population currently has access to 5G, a similar proportion to Germany and Sweden, the UK also trails other European nations such as the Netherlands (40%), Finland (50%) and Switzerland (90%).

To truly seize the benefits of 5G, the UK needs to do more to realise its ambition to be a world leader in 5G. That means allocating 5G spectrum as efficiently as possible, removing unnecessary barriers to the commercial deployment of 5G, and providing targeted public funding where it can truly make a difference.

According to Analysys Mason, £800 million in public funding could deliver economic benefits worth over £2.5 billion if invested in innovative 5G use cases including fixed wireless access, smart automotive and healthcare.

Research from Analysys Mason shows that new use cases enabled by 5G´s unique capabilities can deliver multiple environmental and social benefits, as well as net economic benefits of £15bn across four key clusters:

Smart Production

£4.6 billion in net economic benefits from smart factories, ports, airports and mines.

Smart Rural

£2.1 billion in net economic benefits from smart agriculture and and improved rural connectivity through 5G Fixed Wireless Access.

Smart Urban

£4.1 billion in net economic benefits from smart construction and smart automotive (including public transport).

A greener future

Digital technologies – including 5G - have the potential to directly reduce fossil fuel emissions by 15% by 2030.

The innovation behind 5G

5G standardization is supported by the patent and licensing process, and will boost performance between networks, devices and operators, creating new revenue streams with radical new business models and use cases.

Ericsson Mobility Report

In 2020, the world’s digital infrastructure has become more important than ever.


Towards 2030

Creating intelligent digital infrastructure