5G-enabled industries have the potential to add $8 trillion to global GDP by 2030, claims a new report from Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs.
The 5G Business Readiness Report highlights the potential of 5G to drive sustainable economic growth, boosted in part by the Covid-19 pandemic’s acceleration of digitisation, particularly among the least digitally advanced industries.
The report draws a clear correlation between 5G deployment and business performance, with companies at an advanced level of 5G adoption being the only group to experience a net increase in productivity (+10%) since Covid-19, and the only group able to maintain or increase customer engagement during the pandemic.
5G mature companies are also growing considerably faster than their peers, with 49% of firms in the expansion phase and 37% in the implementation phase – the two most advanced stages of 5G maturity – achieving rapid growth last year, compared to 20% in the planning phase, 11% in the discovery phase and 5% in the passive phase.
Nokia is anticipating a big increase in 5G investment as enterprises advance their digitisation programmes, with 71% of large companies planning to invest in 5G over the next 5 years.
While the report highlights the benefits of investment in 5G, it also reveals low levels of 5G maturity across the eight economies analysed – Australia, Germany, Finland, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the UK and the US.
Just 7% of companies (4% in the UK) are categorised as 5G mature, with 50% at the midway point between planning and deployment on the 5G readiness scale i.e. still conducting trials/pilots or early stage deployments such as 5G mobile phones or limited 5G connectivity for fleet services or rural locations.
Moreover, while awareness of the importance of 5G adoption is high, a significant investment gap remains, with just 15% of companies currently investing in 5G implementation and nearly one third (29%) not planning any 5G investment in the next 5 years.
The report’s authors identify five principal barriers to 5G adoption: concerns about security (cited by 34%); limited infrastructure outside urban centres (28%); low prioritisation in businesses (22%); poor understanding of 5G amongst business decision-makers (17%); and cost and complexity (15%).