Despite the rollout of UK 5G only being in its early stages, among small and medium sized enterprises, (SMEs) appetite for the network technology is already significant.

According to research by Onecom published today, 72% of SMEs believe 5G is going to improve both their efficiency and success.

Two-thirds of SMEs plan to upgrade to 5G within six months of it becoming available to them, with 22% planning to upgrade immediately. Only 2% have no intention of ever upgrading to the technology.

5G availability in the UK

5G is already available in some areas of the UK, with EE becoming the first to switch on its network in May in the UK’s four capital cities, Belfast, Cardiff, London and Edinburgh.

It plans to continue expanding through 2020, with availability planned for 14 cities by the end of 2019.

Vodafone became the second company to activate its network in June, initially providing coverage in seven UK cities, including Cardiff, London, Glasgow and Manchester.

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By GlobalData

The company also plans to expand its coverage to 12 additional towns and cities by the end of 2019, including Blackpool, Portsmouth, Southampton and Wolverhampton.

O2 has also started its own efforts, with plans to bring availability to 50 cities by summer 2020.

5G appeal for SMEs

Promising faster speeds, greater reliability and more capacity, 5G is being seen by SMEs as a tool to improve multiple aspects of their business.

A third believe 5G will help SMEs improve their customer service, boost staff productivity and increase the opportunities for staff to work remotely.

30% also believe the technology will help their company cut costs, while 11% see it as enabling them to launch new services. Only 11% do not believe the technology will provide any new benefits.

“There is a lot of excitement around 5G, and we are certainly seeing growing interest from our clients in how this could boost their business and operations,” said Ben Dowd, CEO of Onecom.

“The opportunities 5G brings are compelling, but companies need to assess their specific needs first and how this new technology could meet these. The benefits of 5G will come as a result of an evolution as opposed to a revolution.”

Read more: There’s more to 5G than speed: Why network slicing could be a game changer