Wednesday 26 February 2020 12:01 am

UK business lacks confidence over 5G despite rising investment

Less than half of UK businesses are confident they can successfully implement 5G-based technology despite growing investment in the new mobile network, new research has revealed.

Around 15 per cent of British companies are currently investing in 5G, with the figures set to rise to 70 per cent within three years, according to an EY study seen by City A.M.

However, just 44 per cent said they can successfully implement the Internet of Things (IoT) — a system of interconnected devices underpinned by 5G.

The lack of confidence stems largely from the perceived complexity of implementing 5G, with three-quarters of respondents stating they needed a significant overhaul of their operating model to make the technology work.

But organisations also cited a lack of understanding of the benefits of 5G, with many admitting knowledge gaps around use cases and saying they perceived the new network as only an incremental upgrade on 4G or wifi.

“UK businesses are keen to invest in 5G, but this is not matched by most organisations’ capabilities,” said Praveen Shankar, head of technology, media and telecoms for EY UK & Ireland.

“To overcome this challenge and reach the full potential of 5G, providers need to articulate a more compelling vision of the opportunity, while businesses need to educate themselves on the game-changing possibilities.”

Despite the hesitation, UK businesses appear to be ahead of the curve on prioritising 5G, with just over a third of respondents naming 5G impact on business models as a focus area, compared to 28 per cent worldwide.

Meanwhile 31 per cent viewed greater participation in 5G trials as a top priority, compared to 25 per cent of global companies.