5G to deliver £6bn opportunity for smart, resource-efficient UK cities, says O2

16th March 2018 | Commercial Energy

The next generation of mobile connectivity, or 5G, will enable councils to generate £2.8bn annually through smart lighting and refuse collection, according to a new report from O2 outlining a £6bn opportunity of the UK economy.

O2’s “Value of 5G for cities and communities” report identified how 5G – meaning fifth generation – connectivity will harvest the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver £6bn in productivity savings for the UK economy. According to the report, communities are set to benefit across areas including resource efficiency, transport, data access and energy consumption.

“Of all the ingredients that keep our economy and society moving, arguably top of the list is mobile,” O2’s chief executive Mark Evans said. “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 high levels of collaboration to press ahead with the rollout and to hardwire 5G into the fabric of our cities.”

The report predicts that households will save £145 on energy bills through 5G-enabled smart grids, with council tax bills falling by £66 due to smart refuse collections. An additional £236 per household could also be saved on food waste, through the introduction of smart fridges that send “shelfies” of content to consumers.

For transport, car owners could save £1,600 annually in fuel costs, as 5G-proofed energy grids enable an extra 1.3 million electric vehicles (EVs) to sources electricity by 20205. Better data management will also reduce time spent in traffic by 10%, providing added benefits for air quality, with commuters able to access street-level data sources from lamp posts and bus stops to help them plan journeys. Elsewhere, 5G sensors on rail lines will help with predictive maintenance, reclaiming £440m in lost productivity.

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