5G technology to provide £1bn boost to Yorkshire economy by 2025

5G technology could give Yorkshire’s economy a £1bn boost per year by 2025, according to new research from Barclays Corporate Banking.

The report, 5G: A Transformative Technology, analyses a series of scenarios that UK businesses could face when implementing 5G. Under an ‘optimistic scenario’, which anticipates an accelerated rollout of 5G and an uptake amongst UK businesses and consumers, the UK will see a £15.7bn increase in business revenue by 2025, and in Yorkshire, £1bn in revenue by 2025.

A slower rollout and limited use would deliver around £504m of added revenue to Yorkshire, while the current pace of development added revenue would reach £13bn nationally.

The report highlighted that the optimistic scenario could be “a reality for British businesses”, as mobile providers are beginning to introduce 5G capabilities on a large scale this year, including pilots underway in London, the Midlands, Edinburgh and Belfast.

The Government is also supporting 5G by incorporating it into its Industrial Strategy, having pledged £1bn towards digital infrastructure. The bidding process for 5G licences also opened to the telecoms industry last year.

Under the optimistic scenario, the UK business areas set to see the largest revenue increases are distribution (£3.6bn), manufacturing (£2bn), professional services (£1.1bn) and business services (£1bn).

The new Barclays research revealed that a majority of businesses (58%) are already benefitting from fast communications technology like 4G and ultrafast broadband. This is because it allows companies to operate across disparate locations (59%), communicate with customers and potential customers (49%) and connect multiple machines and devices (48%).

5G can provide peak data rates 20 times faster than 4G and simultaneous connections for one million devices per square kilometre. These speeds will allow for innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics and large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) usage.

Despite the demand for current communications technologies and the potential applications for 5G, the Barclays survey of 526 British businesses found 37% business decision makers in Yorkshire know how their business can make the most of 5G.

In addition, only 15% of businesses nationally are thinking about how to harness the 5G technology. The sectors most likely to have plans for 5G are TMT (23%), logistics (18%) and hospitality and leisure (17%).

Sean Duffy, head of TMT at Barclays, said: “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. What’s more, nearly four in ten business leaders still aren’t entirely sure what 5G is.

“To ensure the UK can realise the full potential of an accelerated rollout, the Government, mobile operators and other corporate partners – including financial institutions – 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.”