5G could boost the Scottish economy by up to £1.12 billion per year by 2025, research from Barclays Corporate Banking has suggested.
The report, 5G: A transformative Technology also warns that this opportunity could be missed because industry leaders still do not know enough about the benefits of investing in the technology.
Under an ‘optimistic scenario’, which anticipates an accelerated rollout and uptake of 5G among UK businesses and consumers, Scotland will see a significant increase in business revenue. In this case, the business areas set to see the largest revenue increases across the UK are distribution (£3.6bn), manufacturing (£2bn), professional service (£1.1bn) and business services (£1bn).
The bank suggests that the “diverse range” of sectors expected to benefit from 5G underlines the wide applications of the technology.
A slower-than-anticipated rollout and limited use, however, would deliver an estimated £563 million of added revenue, Barclays research suggests.
According to the bank, only 22% of businesses in Scotland are benefiting from fast communications technology, such as 4G and ultrafast broadband. Nearly half (46%) of businesses say the would likely benefit from network improvements but have had to work around having one.
Commenting on the research findings, MD of Barclays Corporate Banking Scotland, Jamie Grant, said: “The rollout of 5G offers a huge opportunity for Scotland. We are seeing massive potential for business growth, which ultimately delivers a positive knock-on effect for the whole region.
“While the UK and Scottish Governments and network providers are already working hard to introduce 5G in Scotland, we found that businesses do not yet have enough clarity about how they will benefit in the long run.
“To ensure Scotland can realise the full potential of an accelerated rollout, government, mobile operators and other corporate partners – including financial institutions – have a job to do in order to raise awareness amongst businesses so they can harness 5G.”
Despite current demands for communications technologies and the potential applications of 5G, the Barclays survey found that just 38% of business decision-makers in Scotland know how their business can make the most of 5G.
In regards to preparation for 5G, only 18% of Scottish businesses are ‘actively considering’ how they will harness the new technology.