A new research report by Deloitte has found that 5G technology will contribute to $50 billion to Australia’s economic growth through increased productivity, workforce participation and new business opportunities. With mobile tech already increasing the Aussie economy by 2%, recent forecasts by the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research put the benefits of 5G to Australia’s GDP at up to $2,000 per person, or between $32 billion and $50 billion, by 2030.
The report, which surveyed over 550 business leaders from across Australia reveals businesses are already well on this path with 80% reporting they are already implementing or expect to be using new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, drones and augmented reality, that will be enabled by 5G within the next three years. More than three quarters of those surveyed said faster, more reliable and more responsive mobile telecommunications would benefit their business.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said “Australia needs an ambitious agenda to fast track the adoption of 5G and make the sophistication and reach of our wireless networks a competitive advantage in the global economy".
With all three major telcos already planning their 5G rollouts for next year and the next generation of smartphones and other mobile devices expected to deploy the faster communications from early next year, we're on the cusp of the next change in mobile technologies. 5G networks are estimated to offer maximum theoretical speeds of up to 10Gbps - more than 100 times the advertised speed for 4G networks in Australia of between 2-100Mbps. In practical terms, Deloitte says 12% of surveyed businesses ranked better customer engagement as the top benefit while 6% thought that decrease costs would be the greatest benefit.
Over two-thirds expect to be using 5G before the end of 2020 with just 2% saying they will never use the next generation of mobile technologies in their businesses. The additional cost of 5G was also considered a significant barrier by a large number of respondents.
One of the big benefits the research found is one I remain skeptical about. Deloitte says 5G will help to overcome locational barriers, assist people to meet other commitments that would otherwise limit their ability to participate in the workforce such as by allowing people to monitor health, check-in with family and friends and do household tasks while at work or in transit, and enable new ways for people to find and apply for jobs.
Technology hasn't been a major problem, in my view, when it comes to those things. I think there is a cultural blocker, rather than a technical one, for many businesses who it comes to being seen at the office. For example, IBM recently started unwinding its telecommuting policy and culture.