5G: 10 times faster than 4G, worth £10bn, say O2

Thursday, 20 April, 2017

A new study by O2 predicts that 5G will be worth vastly more to the UK economy than fibre broadband over the next 10 years.

5G is expected to become widely available in the UK by around 2020 but the tech is at a very early stage.

Ofcom will begin auctioning off bands of the UK’s wireless spectrum later this year – allowing companies to stake their claim on the waves that will eventually become the 5G network.

5G will be 10 times faster than 4G, worth £10bn, say O2 1

O2 believe that just six years after rollout begins, a national 5G infrastructure will contribute £7 billion directly into the UK economy. A further £3 billion could come indirectly through the secondary supply chain.

This is in keeping with the results of a European Commission study which predicts 5G networks will deliver an economic benefit of €113 billion and over 2 million new jobs across Europe.

5G networks will be able to deliver speeds over 10 times higher than the current 4G standard as well as being able to support a substantially higher volume of connections.

Predicted speeds for 5G range from a 50Mbps country-wide service to a collossal 10Gbps speed in built-up city areas.

If these speeds can actually be achieved, mobile broadband could be a much faster option than fixed line fibre broadband in many areas across the UK – both rural and urban.

More: Free 1Gbps public WiFi coming to central London

With the Internet of Things and connected homes about to break into the mainstream, more and more devices are being sold that need an internet connection. Building the 5G infrastructure to support this wave of demand will be vital in the coming years.

The numbers are indeed impressive, but let’s not forget that 5G doesn’t even exist yet.

The official standards for the architecture and technology of 5G are still under development so it’s unclear if the lofty ambitions set out for 5G can even be reached.

Fibre broadband is already well into its rollout phase. Widespread, ultrafast 1Gbps connections may still be a way off but fibre speeds around 30Mbps are available to the majority of UK households.

Thurrock Council add Hyperoptic gigabit broadband to social housing

More: Thurrock Council adds 1Gbps into social housing

But the benefits of 5G will be about more than just speed. Analysts are keeping a close eye on the benefits for investors, too.

Mark Evans, CEO of O2, says in the report: “5G promises a much quicker return on investment than fibre broadband, and a range of unprecedented benefits: from telecare health applications to smarter cities to more seamless public services.”

Until the true capabilities of 5G are revealed it’s probably best not to get too excited.

Without any finalised technology or standards, it’s hard to see O2’s study as much more than lofty claims to encourage investment.

It’s not 5G but you can still get fast broadband: check here

Please enter a valid postcode to check availability in your area.

Samuel Newman author picture

By:

Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

United Nations warns of ‘digital welfare dystopia’

The UN has warned internet users of handing over their data to ‘big tech’ and accused companies of exploiting the poorest users.

United Nations warns of ‘digital welfare dystopia’United Nations warns of ‘digital welfare dystopia’ Read more

BT and O2 launch 5G in the same week!

BT and O2 are the latest networks to enter the bitter high street 5G battle.

Read more

UK Porn block for children has been scrapped.

The government’s controversial ‘porn blocker’ plan, mired in delays and problems, has been officially scrapped.

Read more

Gigaclear undertake costly fibre install UNDER River Severn to reach rural customers

The upstart ISP embarks on ambitious plan to ensure rural customers have access to full fibre broadband!

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

Minimum connection speeds for common online activities

Read more

How many companies provide full fibre broadband?

Read more