June 30, 2020

5G now “somewhat less important” for business for over 40% of executives

By Ellen Daniel

The adoption of 5G is now viewed as less important by a significant proportion of business executives following the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2nd Global Business Barometer report, supported by SAS, in which executives around the world are surveyed to understand how businesses are “coping today and planning for the future”.

2020 was predicted by many to be the “year of 5G” as 5G-enabled devices become more common, and many telecommunications companies extend 5G coverage. It was described by the European Commission “one of the most critical building blocks of our digital economy and society in the next decade”.

However, focus has unsurprisingly shifted somewhat due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with remote working meaning that many are relying on broadband and Wi-Fi rather than mobile data, and businesses prioritising other areas given the current economic uncertainty.

Furthermore, with 5G wrongly linked to the spread of coronavirus, the report says that these factors may have “dimmed enthusiasm for the technology”.

According to the report, 41.6% of executives surveyed feel 5G is “somewhat less important” to their company’s recovery and just 5.8% view it as “much more important”.

However, Vodafone has predicted that 5G could generate £158bn for the UK economy over the next decade from productivity and connectivity improvements.

This is compared with 44% of respondents who see cybersecurity as becoming “much more important,” followed by data privacy at 42.5% and risk management and cloud computing tied at 39.9%. This is unsurprising considering the surge in coronavirus-related scams, malware and phishing attempts.

The Business Barometer shows that as of late May, although executives may have made adaptations to their operations that may become permanent, they still believe their business is in the survival phase. 37.2% of respondents believe that global economic recovery will take “3 to 5 years”, an increase on April, where the figure stood at 30.8%.

Read more: Nokia wins €400m 5G deal with Taiwan Mobile.

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