5G technology could inject up to £15.7bn ($20.6bn) per year in the U.K. economy by 2025, according to a new research from Barclays Corporate Banking.
However, the bank warned that the opportunity could be missed because industry leaders still do not know enough about the benefits of investing in the technology.
Under an optimistic scenario, which anticipates an accelerated rollout of 5G technology, the UK will see a £15.7bn increase in business revenue by 2025. A slower-than-anticipated rollout and limited use would deliver around £8.3bn of added revenue to the UK’s economy, while the current pace of development added revenue would reach £13bn.
Barclays highlighted that the optimistic scenario could be a reality, as mobile carriers are already beginning to launch 5G capabilities on a large scale this year, including pilots underway in London, the Midlands, Edinburgh and Belfast.
The U.K. government is also supporting 5G technology by incorporating it into its national industrial strategy, having pledged £1bn towards digital infrastructure.
Under the optimistic scenario, the business areas set to see the largest revenue increases are distribution (£3.6bn), manufacturing (£2bn), professional services (£1.1bn) and business services (£1bn), according to the research.
Despite the demand for current communications technologies and the potential applications for 5G, the Barclays survey of 526 U.K. businesses found just four in ten (39%) business decision makers know how their business can make the most of 5G. When it comes to preparing for 5G, only 15% of businesses are thinking about how to harness the new technology.
“The rollout of 5G offers a huge opportunity for the UK. We’re seeing massive potential for business growth, which ultimately delivers a positive knock-on effect for the whole economy. While the Government and network providers are already working hard to introduce 5G in the UK, we found that businesses do not yet have enough clarity about how they will benefit in the long-run,” said Sean Duffy, head of technology, media and telecoms at Barclays Corporate Banking.
“To ensure the U.K. can realize the full potential of an accelerated rollout, the Government, mobile operators and other corporate partners have a job to do in order to raise awareness amongst businesses so they can harness 5G. This support is crucial for businesses to make smart investments which will unlock the power of 5G.”
“The government is committed to ensuring businesses can harness the power of this revolution in mobile connectivity. The benefits set out in this report and the potential to add billions to our economy are exactly why we’re investing in the UK’s strong 5G ecosystem,” said Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries.
The sectors planning significant investments into 5G technologies within their business are technology, media and telecom (35%), logistics (34%), business services (28%) and manufacturing (24%), according to the Barclays research.