5G set to add $565bn to global economy, report finds

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A new study has estimated that mmWave 5G technology can add over half a trillion dollars to the global economy by 2034.

The emergence of 5G mobile connectivity could add as much as $565 billion (£448 billion) to global GDP between 2020 and 2034, a new report has calculated.

However, the study, conducted by GSMA, noted that in order to reap the benefits, which will also include some $152 billion in tax revenue, governments will have to support the use of millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum.

This spectrum will be necessary for carrying the highest capacity 5G services, as it has ideal characteristics for handling very high data transfer rates with low latency and high reliability. Therefore, GSMA said nations will need to work together with mobile operators at the next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019 to determine how best to unlock this potential.

As well as delivering ultrafast mobile broadband services to consumers, the adoption of mmWave 5G will also help deliver a range of applications that are not possible today.

This technology could help support innovations including remote healthcare and education, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality, and many others, GSMA noted.

In healthcare, for example, the benefits of 5G include improved telemedicine, better preventative medicine using always-on remote sensors and wearables, remote surgery and ‘smart’ instruments.

Elsewhere, next-generation robots, remote object manipulation, drones and other real-time control applications are expected to boost efficiency, reduce costs and improve safety in industrial applications, while the technology will also enable driverless vehicles to better communicate with each other.

However, these benefits, which are collectively set to account for a quarter of 5G's overall value, will only be made possible because of the speed and latency capabilities enabled by mmWave spectrum.

Brett Tarnutzer, head of spectrum at the organisation, said: "More than five billion people already rely on the mobile ecosystem to deliver services that are integral to their daily lives and fundamental to the economic sustainability of the communities they live in. 

"5G can offer more benefits and a whole new range of services to even more people, but this will not be possible without access to this vital spectrum."

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