02: 5G will mean massive savings
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:
Derek McManus, COO, Telefónica UK; Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries; Mark Evans, CEO, Telefónica UK; Simon Jack, BBC business editor

Mobile network operator O2 has warned that the UK will miss out on £6 billion of savings a year if cities don’t prepare for next generation broadband.

The claim comes in the organisation’s ‘The value of 5G for cities and communities’ report, which was launched today. Predicted savings in the report include £2.8 billion by councils via the introduction of smart lighting and refuse collection, as well as the freeing up of 1.1 million GP hours through video conferencing and real-time remote health monitoring.

The document also suggests that British households will save around £450 a year on energy, council and food bills. This will in part be through the introduction of 5G-enabled smart grids which will drive “dynamic pricing.”

Speaking at the launch of the report in London, O2 CEO, 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.”

Margot James, minister for digital and the creative Industries said: "We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G, and this report highlights the huge potential we have to get ahead and reap the benefits of this exciting new technology.

"We're already investing £25 million in new testbeds across the UK that will pave the way for our 5G future, and our work with industry will be vital to help us achieve our ambitions."

5G-related projects currently involving O2 include a partnership with AEG to launch a trial at The O2. Its parent company Telefónica meanwhile has launched its 5G Technological Cities project in the Spanish cities of Segovia and Talavera de la Reina.

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