Fifth generation (5G) wireless technology will make the UK’s cities smarter, with benefits for citizens and local councils, and could generate as much as £6bn in productivity savings for the UK economy.
That’s according to a new report from mobile operator O2, which predicts that every household will save up to £450 a year on energy, council and food bills.
This estimate includes a reduction of £145 on household energy bills due to the introduction of 5G-enabled smart grids that drive dynamic pricing, enable better distribution, and allow consumers to choose where they buy energy. If councils pass on the savings created through smart refuse collection, it could cut council tax bills by £66, and households would save an additional £236 by reducing food waste thanks to the introduction of smart fridges, which can send ‘shelfies’ of their contents to consumers’ smartphones, helping them to avoid buying food that’s not needed.
Meanwhile, local councils could collectively share an annual £2.8bn of efficiency savings; GP consultations will be streamlined, relieving pressure on the NHS; and cities’ transport infrastructure will be improved, reducing commuting time.
The report calls for greater collaboration between industry, the government, local councils, landlords and developers to ensure the UK can reap the benefits of next generation connectivity and maintain its digital leadership.
Speaking at the launch of The value of 5G for cities and communities, 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 a high level of collaboration to press ahead with the rollout and to hardwire 5G into the fabric of our cities.”