The UK will enjoy major financial benefits from embracing 5G technology in homes and businesses across the country, new research has predicted.
A report from O2 estimates that the UK could save £6 billion a year thanks to the new technology - but only if cities and the buildings within them are upgraded to the proper support stage to get the most out of 5G.
The savings include an estimated £2.8 billion every year for councils across the UK thanks to savings brought by the introduction of smart lighting and smart refuse collection, as well as improved social care.
5G-enabled road management systems, able to respond seamlessly to traffic volumes, will reduce the time spent stuck in traffic by 10 percent for the UK’s 5.6 million vehicle commuters - helping them and their businesses become more productive.
The report also states that the NHS could benefit hugely from 5G, which could free up 1.1 million GP hours through the introduction of technology such as tele-health video conferencing and real-time remote health monitoring.
The savings will also be passed down to individual households, which should see a benefit of around £450 a year on food, energy and council tax bills.
“Of all the ingredients that keep our economy and society moving, arguably top of the list is mobile," O2 CEO Mark Evans said at the report's launch.
"Our report demonstrates how 5G technology, when it arrives, will provide unprecedented benefits for consumers, councils and cities alike. The enhanced connectivity on offer will make a real difference to people’s lives and pockets. However none of these benefits are assured. We need a high level of collaboration to press ahead with the rollout and to hardwire 5G into the fabric of our cities.”
"We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G, and this report highlights the huge potential we have to get ahead and reap the benefits of this exciting new technology," added Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries.
"We're already investing £25 million in new testbeds across the UK that will pave the way for our 5G future and our work with industry will be vital to help us achieve our ambitions."