Unlocking spectrum for the mobile industry to deliver innovative 5G services across different industry sectors could add $565 billion to global GDP and $152 billion in tax revenue from 2020 to 2034, according to a new report launched this week by the GSMA. Next-generation 5G services will improve access to healthcare, education and mobility whilst reducing pollution and increasing safety. However, these outcomes rely on government support for the identification of sufficient millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum for the mobile industry at the next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019 (WRC-19).
The report, “Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G Services Provided in mmWave Bands”, is the first to examine and quantify the impact of mmWave spectrum on the overall contribution of 5G networks to society. mmWave spectrum will carry the highest capacity 5G services. It has the ideal characteristics to support very high data transfer rates and ultra-reliable, low latency capabilities, which will support new use cases and deliver the benefits of 5G to consumers and businesses around the world.
“The global mobile ecosystem knows how to make spectrum work to deliver a better future,” said Brett Tarnutzer, Head of Spectrum, GSMA. “Mobile operators have a history of maximising the impact of our spectrum resources and no one else has done more to transform spectrum allocations into services that are changing people’s lives. Planning spectrum is essential to enable the highest 5G performance and government backing for mmWave mobile spectrum at WRC-19 will unlock the greatest value from 5G deployments for their citizens.
“More than 5 billion people already rely on the mobile ecosystem to deliver services that are integral to their daily lives and fundamental to the economic sustainability of the communities they live in. 5G can offer more benefits and a whole new range of services to even more people, but this will not be possible without access to this vital spectrum.”
New Possibilities for Consumers and Industry
mmWave 5G will not only provide consumers with ultra-fast mobile broadband services including immersive entertainment, but will stimulate a host of applications that will enable citizens and businesses to do tomorrow what they can’t do today. These innovations will include enhanced remote healthcare and education, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality, and many others.
In healthcare, improved telemedicine including tactile internet capabilities, better preventative medicine using always-on remote sensors and wearables, and remote surgery and ‘smart’ instruments will only be made possible because of the speed and latency capabilities enabled by mmWave spectrum.
Next-generation robots, remote object manipulation (controlling machines with precision at distance), drones and other real-time control applications in digitised industrial centres are expected to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve safety as well as lead to innovations in products and processes.
In autonomous transport, mmWave 5G will enable driverless vehicles to communicate with each other, the cloud and the physical environment continuously to create highly efficient public transport networks. These and many other innovative use cases are expected to deliver 25 per cent of the overall value created by 5G in the future.
Global growth from mmWave
The early lead already being established in 5G in the Asia Pacific and Americas regions are expected to generate the greatest share of GDP attributed to mmWave 5G, at $212 billion and $190 billion respectively. Europe is forecast to have the highest percentage of GDP growth attributable to mmWave of any region, with 2.9 per cent.
However, the advantages are not restricted to early-adopting mobile markets and, as the rest of the world deploys 5G in subsequent years, economies of scale derived from spectrum harmonisation will stimulate even faster growth. Regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean could see growth in GDP contribution from mmWave 5G applications of over 65 per cent per year from 2026 until 2034.
“It is critical for governments to recognise the importance of the mmWave aspects of 5G when making decisions at the upcoming WRC-19. Making the right decisions now on spectrum will be vital to stimulating the rapid growth of economies, especially in developing markets, in the coming decade,” added the GSMA’s Brett Tarnutzer. “mmWave spectrum has the capacity to support the innovative services expected from the highest performance of 5G, and only the mobile ecosystem has the technical expertise and track record in collaboration to deliver them at a price acceptable to consumers and businesses around the world.”
New mmWave bands for mobile are being discussed at WRC-19, and the GSMA recommends supporting the 26 GHz, 40 GHz and 66-71 GHz bands for mobile. Global harmonisation of these bands at WRC-19 will create the greatest economies of scale and make broadband more affordable across the world. Outside the WRC-19 process, 28 GHz is also emerging as an important mmWave band for realising the ultra-high-speed vision for 5G. Commercial services using this band have already been launched in the US and it will also be used for mmWave 5G in countries such as South Korea, Japan, India and Canada.
The report, “Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G Services Provided in mmWave Bands”, which includes details of 5G use cases, value and GDP contribution by sector and geography, can be found here.
The study was conducted by TMG, a consulting firm specialising in the information and communication technologies sector, on behalf of the GSMA.