Australia’s Bureau of Communications and Arts Research recently
released its assessment of the potential impacts of 5G on Australia’s
productivity and growth.
The working paper titled Impacts of 5G on productivity and economic
growth aims to inform consideration of any changes to
regulatory settings that may be needed to support the rollout and adoption of
5G, the next generation of mobile wireless network
technology, which is expected to commence roll out in Australia from 2019, will
improve consumer experiences and business utility through faster data
transmission and more reliable connectivity.
5G also represents a step change from previous generations
of mobile technology by enabling lower latency—the time it takes for signals to
travel through the network. This gives it a wider range of applications by
providing the responsive digital technology required to support innovations
such as robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The paper also provides estimates of the costs and benefits
that may stem from 5G and the impacts on businesses and consumers.
According to the paper, 5G is likely to have a positive
effect on productivity growth across the Australian economy. Early estimates
suggest that 5G could add up to A$2,000 in GDP per capita at the end of the
first decade after the rollout.
However, it is also important to note that not all the
benefits from 5G will be captured in dollar values – the additional choice and
reduction in costs driven by 5G-enabled technology is likely to improve the
wellbeing of consumers and households.
The economic impact of 5G will be determined by the extent
to which it is an improvement on previous mobile technology, or if it is a
general-purpose technology — one typically associated with industrial
The paper concludes that Australia is well-positioned to
make the most of 5G technology. Australia’s use of telecommunications-enabled
goods and services ranks well in comparison with the United States, Canada,
Germany and South Korea.
Among all industries in Australia, those that are already
telecommunications-intensive, including the Information, Media and
Telecommunications, Arts and Entertainment, Education and Wholesale and Retail
sectors are well placed to take advantage of 5G services.
The working paper complements the 5G – Enabling the future economy directions
paper, which sets out how the Australian Government will work to ensure that
the policy and regulatory environment is updated to take advantage of 5G.