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UK's 5G rollout lags in Europe with just 30% coverage

Ericsson and Qualcomm suggest the tech has the potential to generate £14.8 billion in economic growth

The UK’s 5G rollout is currently rated ‘average’ among European countries, with the country lagging behind frontrunners such as Switzerland and Finland, according to a new report from Ericsson and Qualcomm.

The Cost-benefit Analysis of 5G by Market Segment report found that, despite the UK being an early leader in 5G rollouts, its 5G coverage in the country is currently at only around 30%. This places the UK on the same level as Denmark and Sweden, but well behind the 5G frontrunners.

However, if the UK would be to take full advantage of the technology, 5G could deliver £14.8 billion in additional economic growth, with a return of investment (ROI) estimated at up to five times for businesses.

In order to do so, the report recommends that the UK extends 5G coverage further into rural areas, ramps up the 5G rollout for sectors such as manufacturing, freight, and utilities, and encourages operators to provide very high capacity for 5G in urban applications, including construction.

Ericsson UK & Ireland head John Griffin comments: "This new research shows that 5G technology will be a foundation for the UK’s future as it recovers from COVID-19 and builds a world leading digital economy”. 

“As an open innovation platform, 5G will accelerate digital transformation and help the UK establish a truly global leadership position in the industries and technologies of the future. Ericsson is already leading the deployment of 5G in the UK and is committed to developing the early use cases that will deliver the economic, social and environmental returns to build a sustainable and resilient infrastructure for future generations,” he added.

The report also found that the total projected additional economic growth from 5G will be driven by only three industries. Manufacturing is expected to generate £5.2 billion, while construction and agriculture are expected to deliver growth of  £4.2 billion and £2.2 billion, respectively.

If investments in 5G infrastructure are to be focused on these three sectors, the UK might just turn around its luck following a whirlwind year for its 5G rollout.

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