Widespread adoption of 5G technology will grow tech industry, but it might just become a massive shift to the industry according to a new report.
New 5G wireless networks could possibly contribute as much as $40 billion to Canada’s economy by 2026 while also adding 250,000 permanent new jobs. Accenture’s Fuel for Innovation – Canada’s Path In The Race To 5G report shows that when Canada eventually deploys 5G networks widespread across the country, the overall effects on the economy will be vast and felt by nearly everyone.
“Wireless in Canada is a success story for our country because it is an industry that works: Canada’s wireless networks are among the fastest and most advanced in the world, and 5G offers a chance to build on this leadership,” said Robert Ghiz, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the group that commissioned the report. “This report highlights the opportunities that lie ahead with 5G—opportunities for all Canadians, including those in rural areas where 5G can close gaps in broadband service using fixed wireless. To grasp these opportunities, stakeholders will need to work collaboratively to ensure that 5G will be a success here.”
Networks are expected to begin being deployed in 2020 until roughly 2026, and close to 150,000 short-term jobs could be created to make sure the rollout is as effective as possible. To deploy 5G across the country, it is estimated it will cost facilities-based carriers $26 billion in total, creating 250,000 permanent jobs to run and upkeep the networks past 2026.
“New generations of wireless technology have consistently brought waves of economic growth by improving the way people live and work, and the findings of this report show that 5G in Canada will be no exception,” said Tejas Rao, a managing director at Accenture. “The investment in 5G will be a significant driver of jobs and provide new opportunities for innovation to drive Canada’s economy forward.”
A lot of this new economic growth will stem from the competitiveness that Canada will experience as the country switches to a new generation of wireless telecom technology. As the big three fight with one another to maximize rollout while also fending off smaller competitive carriers, it will create hundreds of thousands of jobs to make sure each company stays within market reach of their peers.
Another aspect involved in 5G driving economic growth comes from the ability for the new technology to help connect rural areas. Fixed wireless access through 5G is much cheaper (up to 40 per cent) than deploying fibre to rural areas, so the advent of the new tech can speed up rollout and access new customers. The report estimates this increased broadband penetration could add $5 billion in GDP and 100,000 new jobs simply through increased productivity and digital literacy—which by the way is one of the main factors necessary to driving growth as a country.
The report also points out ways 5G could affect areas that many might not think of, such as precision agriculture. Farmers can use the increased connectivity to better measure, analyze, and respond to crops in real time to preserve resources and boost yields. In total, the farming sector could achieve economic gains of up to $3.3 billion—with $1.2 billion coming from input price reductions and $2.1 billion coming from yield increases.
Other ways 5G tech will boost the economy include predictive maintenance in the oil sands, more immersive entertainment options through AR and VR, connected medical care through communicative ambulances and shared patient data systems, and more.
There are three steps needed to achieve this widespread success: modernize deployment rules and fees, optimized spectrum availability and allocation, and encourage investment. Right now, the Canadian government is outlining 5G adoption through spectrum auctions that will allow the big carriers to map out their own plans.
Earlier this year, the government announced the massive ENCQOR project to invest a combined $400 million in a 5G corridor between Ontario and Quebec. The investments came from both private entities as well as the government.