December 14, 2021

5G Starts to Fulfill Its Economic Promise

Adrian Pennington

5G could uplift consumer and media applications by $254 billion as part of a global economic potential of $1.3 trillion in new revenue by the end of the decade, according to PwC.

PwC’s new report, The global economic impact of 5G,” says the promise of the next-gen mobile network is beginning to be fulfilled as adoption and rollout accelerate.

Healthcare will be far and away the biggest contributor to the economic gains from 5G. PwC’s model predicts that it could add more than half a trillion dollars to global GDP by 2030.

Smart utilities management will bring in an estimated $330 billion more.

From “The global economic impact of 5G.” Cr: PwC
From “The global economic impact of 5G.” Cr: PwC

“For the next five years, 5G’s contribution to economic growth will be fairly modest, as telecom companies focus on infrastructure construction and rollout,” says report author Wilson Chow, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications leader for PwC China.

“But starting in 2025, we project these investments will have an increasingly energizing effect on the global economy, as 5G-enabled applications become more widespread.”

North America will experience the biggest percentage uplift to GDP from 5G with $484 billion, followed by China at $220 billion, Japan ($76 billion) and then Germany ($65 billion).

6G may already be on the horizon, but there’s still a lot to understand about the benefits — and limitations — of 5G, which is rolling out across the US but has yet to reach peak saturation. Dive into these selections from the NAB Amplify archives to learn what, exactly, 5G is, how it differs from 4G, and — most importantly — how 5G will bolster the Media & Entertainment industry on the road ahead:

The potential in consumer and media applications is being led by real-time marketing and customer relations.

“Combining 5G with powerful analytics capabilities, AI and marketing automation will allow campaigns to be constantly optimized and tweaked,” says Chow. “AR over 5G will also improve the experience by enabling shoppers, for example, to see themselves in a garment without entering a fitting room.”

The net global contribution of this to GDP by 2030 is reckoned at $221 billion.

From “The global economic impact of 5G.” Cr: PwC
From “The global economic impact of 5G.” Cr: PwC

5G’s superior speed and ultra-low latency combined with edge computing concept means 5G will usher in a new era of ever more immersive gaming experiences that were not possible with 4G.

OTT content streaming will also increase thanks to better, faster access on the move and to 5G’s greater ability to support VR and AR experiences and simultaneous HD video streaming. And in the fast-growing e-sports sector, 5G’s ability to run multiple virtual connections over one network — technically termed “network slicing” — opens the way for providers to offer experiences such as personalized 3D augmentation, instant replays, and 360-degree in-game views on mobile devices.

The global net contribution of apps here will total $33 billion.

PwC says 5G can “turbocharge” other emerging technologies, including AI, XR, edge computing and the IoT.

“All of these technologies work better and contribute more value when applied in combination with 5G, helping enterprises create a ‘technology flywheel’ — the pent-up power of which will be all the greater in the wake of the pandemic.”

Now it is up to companies to “reinvent their business and operational support systems” to become more flexible, agile, and connected to support 5G-based services. And, says the consultant, all businesses will need to radically upskill their workforce for a 5G-enabled world.

From “The global economic impact of 5G.” Cr: PwC
From “The global economic impact of 5G.” Cr: PwC

 READ MORE: The global economic impact of 5G (PwC)