Slow 5G adoption could threaten $94bn GDP windfall

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 31 March, 2022

Slow 5G adoption could threaten $94bn GDP windfall

Slow industry adoption of 5G is threatening a potential $94 billion boost to Australian GDP, according to new research released by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).

The research report, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, found that Australia’s longstanding position as a world leader in mobile telecommunications is at risk due to a lack of business readiness for 5G and an aging policy regime.

While Australia is currently ranked third globally by mobile adoption compared to 29 other advanced technologies, it is at risk of falling to 9th by 2025, according to the report.

While 62% of Australian business leaders across four sectors agree that 5G will accelerate growth of their business, 59% currently have no strategy to realise 5G and 30% have no plans to implement the technology, the report found.

Based on the current trajectory for 5G adoption by businesses, the technology is forecast to increase Australia’s GDP by $67 billion by 2030, AMTA said. But an additional $27 billion can be realised if adoption can be accelerated to the extent Australia’s global leadership position is maintained.

Deloitte Access Economics partner and technology, media and communications lead John O’Mahony said the earlier Australian business can develop and see the potential for 5G applications, the larger the productivity benefits.

“With nearly 90% of businesses facing barriers to 5G adoption, Australia can only unlock the significant economic dividend by lifting business readiness and re-energising the policy regime and framework for 5G,” he said.

“The report also sets out 11 policy priorities for government across three key areas — driving national adoption of 5G, infrastructure deployment and spectrum allocation — to support accelerated 5G adoption and rollout, and facilitate enhanced investment in 5G.”

AMTA CEO Louise Hyland said Australia’s mobile sector has invested billions in the rollout of 5G technology, and stands ready to support the delivery of economic benefits including innovation, jobs, productivity, and global collaboration and competitiveness.

“Australia’s world-leading 5G rollout has seen three live networks established and operational 5G base stations at almost 4000 sites at the end of 2021 with significantly more brought online since, while trials of 5G technology are being undertaken by industry and supported by the Australian Government’s 5G Innovation Initiative,” she said.

“But in reality, that opportunity only has value if the potential can be realised, and that’s why we are calling on industry and government to now play their role in driving an enhanced rate of 5G adoption.”

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