The launch of 4G in the UK took place in 2012 and saw EE introduce the next-generation of mobile connectivity to 11 cities, leaving the rest of the nation and their 3G-enabled devices wearing buffer-face. Six years later and 4G is the norm for businesses and consumers alike but yet there is still room to take things to the next level with 5G.
The government has been promoting 5G as part of its digital strategy initiative and now O2, the mobile-network operator, has declared productivity savings of £6bn can be made for cities across the UK annually with the fifth-generation of mobile connectivity. In its new report, O2 claims the “impact of mobile in our lives will be accelerated with the arrival of 5G”.
In terms of the business context, retail was highlighted as a sector that stands to benefit from a better understanding of customer needs. Blurring the lines between online and real-world shopping more than ever, 5G is expected to connect store fixtures to consumer devices to act as a real-time data exchange for enhance personalisation and targeting.
Additionally, 5G is also set to provide savings of up to £450 a year across each UK household, with solutions such as smart grids, smart fridges and smart refuse. Councils are set for £2.8bn of savings alone through 5G-enabled monitoring and street lighting, while transport infrastructure is set for savings from maintenance predictions and shorter commuting times and healthcare is predicted to experience efficiencies.
Commenting at the launch of the report, Mark Evans, CEO, O2, said: “Of all the ingredients that keep our economy and society moving, arguably top of the list is mobile. 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.”
Margot James, minister for digital and creative industries also commented to say the goal is to make the UK a global leader of 5G. Her remarks and the O2 report come fresh from the news that the government has invested £25m in six 5G testbeds across the UK. Although 5G is still not expected until 2020, it can only be a positive thing for businesses that discussions and encouragement of the tech are well underway.