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March 14, 2018updated 16 Jun 2022 4:13am

5G can drive cost savings of £6bn says O2 report

The network will help to better connect cities and citizens, as well as bringing cost and time savings for communities.

By April Slattery

The impact 5G will have on individuals and communities alike will be life-changing when implemented, with a new report outlining exactly how it will transform cities.

A new report from O2 has revealed the most tangible ways 5G will impact UK cities, citizens and local councils. ‘The Value of 5G for Cities and Communities’ report delves into how 5G will update the way cities operate, making them smarter and enable to bring benefits to citizens and councils.

The report demonstrates how faster speeds and connectivity brought to citizens by the advanced network will lead to a better integrated city infrastructure, which connects buildings, transport and utilities.

O2’s report also predicts that using 5G for smart city development will drive £6bn worth of productivity savings for the UK economy. The report also found that through the use of 5G every household could save up to £450 a year, as energy bills are reduced as a result of the introduction of smart city grids as well as smart initiatives among electricity and water use.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said: “We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G, and this report highlights the huge potential we have to get ahead and reap the benefits of this exciting new technology. We’re already investing £25 million in new test beds across the UK that will pave the way for our 5G future and our work with industry will be vital to help us achieve our ambitions.”

The use of the technology will also enable cities to improve transport infrastructure, reducing time of commutes for citizens. O2’s report predicted that using the capabilities of the network on railway lines will bring improvements in predictive maintenance, which could reclaim an estimated total of £440m in lost productivity. Additionally, this will reduce the average time of commuting by 2.6 hours per year.

Commuters will also see benefits via mobile apps, as the network brings better connected sensors and device such as street lamps and bus stops. Collating this information together will give commuters real-time information about the road, which can help plan a journey more effectively based on the traffic information.

The healthcare sector is one to have already hugely benefitted from the use of technology such as AI and data analytics. Now, the report has predicted GP consultations will also be bettered with the use of 5G. Using the technology GP’s will be able to carry out consultations via video conferencing, which could help reduce GP visits by 9.4m a year and freeing 1.1m hours’ worth of time. The technology enables better responsiveness due to the speed of 5G as well as improves imaging and data collection.

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Speaking at the launch of the report in London today, O2 CEO, Mark Evans said: “Of all the ingredients that keep our economy and society moving, arguably top of the list is mobile. Our report demonstrates how 5G technology, when it arrives, will provide unprecedented benefits for consumers, councils and cities alike. The enhanced connectivity on offer will make a real difference to people’s lives and pockets. However none of these benefits are assured. We need a high level of collaboration to press ahead with the rollout and to hardwire 5G into the fabric of our cities.”

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