Delivering the speedy rollout of 5G Standalone across the country could be worth as much as £7.4bn in additional economic value by 2030 compared to a slower rollout, according to research from Vodafone.
- The difference between slow and accelerated 5G rollout worth an additional £7.4 billion to UK economy
- Speedy roll out of 5G could deliver £1 billion of savings in the NHS, cut rail journey times, saving passengers 25 million hours in travel time over the next five years and reduce streetlight carbon emissions by one million tonnes
- 5G rollout risks exacerbating economic inequality without a more competitive and consolidated mobile market
5G Standalone coverage in all populated areas by 2030 is a core ambition of the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy. However, according to economic modelling commissioned by Vodafone UK and conducted by WPI Economics, there is a significant difference between slow and rapid rollout of 5G Standalone.
Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone UK, said: “Speed matters when it comes to the availability of the most technologically advanced digital networks.
“Digital technology has the potential to transform the way we live, work and access vital public services. The faster we can make these opportunities available to customers, the greater the overall impact to the UK.
“We’ve already begun, but the proposed combination with Three UK will mean we have the scale to accelerate investment to bring benefits to businesses and consumers sooner rather than later. We have committed to £11bn of investment to deliver 5G Standalone across the UK.”
Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, said: “In our increasingly connected digital world, access to high-speed, reliable connectivity has become an essential part of everyday life.
“This research shows exactly why we’ve made rolling out high-speed connectivity a top priority – bringing lightning-fast internet to every corner of the UK will help transform our communities by injecting more than £7bn into our tech-driven economy by the end of the decade”.
In comparison to a sluggish deployment of 5G Standalone, the benefits of an accelerated rollout are particularly high in regions such as the South East, which could see an additional £790 million by 2030, or the East Midlands with an additional £310 million by 2030 – with these same regions also having the most to lose under a delayed rollout.
Regions such as the South West and the North West are also set to realise an additional £425 million and £235 million respectively in terms of economic benefit by 2030 as a result of 5G Standalone. Indeed, every region surveyed experienced significant economic returns when modelled as a good investment environment, whilst all are set to lose when benchmarked against a poor investment environment.
Previous research by Vodafone UK found that if rural communities had the same 5G coverage as urban areas, 838,000 more people would have some access to 5G, where none currently exists. The efficient rollout of 5G networks can therefore be a key contributor to Levelling Up and removing the rural digital divide.
However, the report goes on to argue that these applications will not materialise without a more consolidated mobile market. Vodafone’s proposed merger with Three UK would increase capacity by 75% by 2028, enabling the new combined entity to commit to investing over £11bn in the UK’s 5G network by 2034, delivering £5bn per year in economic benefit by 2030.
The research underlines the importance of the combined Vodafone/Three UK network which will reach more than 99% population coverage with a 5G Standalone network by 2034, and over 95% population coverage by 2030, in full support of the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy ambitions for nationwide coverage of 5G Standalone in all populated areas by 2030.