Failing to make the UK an attractive place for investment in future 5G technology could cost the economy up to £7bn per year, with towns and smaller cities the ones to miss out most.
According to a fresh report from Vodafone, and written by WPI Strategy, the full potential is immense across the country, especially for industrial uses like smart factories, and public services, such as hospitals.
The report, Digital Ambition 2030, warns that the difference between an attractive and an unattractive investment environment is worth £7bn per year to the UK economy by 2030 – most of which will be seen outside London and other major cities.
There are 58 local authority areas which would see a high or very high benefit from a good investment environment for 5G – and which would fall further behind if investment continues to be limited to major cities. These areas of growth include County Durham, Swansea and Sheffield.
The report makes a series of recommendations to support investment, including publishing an updated 5G strategy, as well as procuring power to create market demand.
CEO Vodafone UK Ahmed Essam said : “5G technology enables both massive innovation and huge gains in productivity, especially for industrial uses such as smart factories, and public services such as hospitals which will require ultra-reliable and ultra-low-latency communications.
“But the benefits of this will not be felt equally across the UK in the current regulatory and policy environment – we have to ensure the UK can attract investment in future technologies.
“5G rollout could be a major boost to the Levelling Up agenda. But it could also leave some places falling further behind. It all depends on getting the investment environment right.