Failure to invest in Ireland’s 5G network over the rest of the decade could see a significant loss of €12.6BN in GDP by 2030. This is according to a new study carried out by Amárach Research on behalf of Huawei Ireland
Over 200 Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were interviewed for the report, with almost half (48%) expecting some form of 5G to be widely available at the end of 2021. Seven in ten (69%) SMEs believe national 5G investment will support the growth of indigenous Irish businesses, with 67% stating 5G will help develop Irish start-ups and new businesses. Two-thirds (64%) believe effective 5G investment will be important to Ireland’s economic recovery.
The study found a delay in the rollout of 5G would lead to a slowdown in technological innovation and a reduction in economic growth in Ireland. Using OECD predictions of Ireland’s long-term economic growth between 2020 and 2035, Amárach Research calculated the opportunity cost of low 5G adoption in Ireland is a loss in GDP of €6.1BN by 2025, €12.6BN by 2030 and €20.9BN by 2035.
The report revealed 46% of Irish SMEs have moved some or all of their business operations and services online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 93% of these predicting they will keep some or all of their operations online after the pandemic has passed.
Fifty seven percent of Irish SMEs are now willing to invest in 5G technology to improve remote working for their staff, which has become increasingly important since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. Fifty nine percent of SMEs believe the better remote working speeds and capabilities provided by 5G are extremely important for business growth in Ireland.
The report found Irish SMEs see 5G as much more than just ‘faster internet’. Half of the companies surveyed (47%) believe the operational cost savings obtained through 5G are a key reason to invest in the technology.
Commenting on the findings, Chairman Amárach Research, Gerard O'Neill said, "From the viewpoint of the recovery challenge that lies ahead, it is clearer than ever that investing in a world class 5G network will play a vital part in Ireland’s future than anticipated even 12 months ago. 5G’s importance and relevance to the growth prospects of Ireland’s indigenous SME sector cannot be underestimated. Failure to invest in and adopt 5G could result in billions lost in GDP over the course of the next decade."