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Seven in 10 UK businesses reckon 5G will help them compete

The telco industry’s incessant 5G marketing efforts appear to be winning the hearts and minds of enterprises, if the results of a new survey are to be believed.

According to UK5G, a government-backed group that promotes research, collaboration and application of 5G by the corporate sector, 70 percent of the 300 UK businesses it surveyed are now using or planning to use 5G to achieve a competitive advantage. 73 percent claim to be confident they understand the benefits of 5G.

UK5G said its survey also found that 66 percent of companies believe 5G will make a positive contribution to their corporate sustainability efforts, while 65 percent think it can help them to improve customer experience.

“5G, along with other forms of advanced communications, has the potential to transform business models, generate new revenue streams by unleashing the Internet of Things, and give organisations new insights through data that enable them to improve the service they provide for customers,” said Bob Driver, head of UK5G, in a statement on Wednesday. “This encouraging research shows the appetite of business in sectors such as the creatives industries, transport and logistics, manufacturing and health and social care, to embrace the opportunities 5G can bring.”

Understanding the benefits is the easy bit though. Understanding how to implement 5G is where things get tricky, and UK5G’s survey suggests there is still a lot of work to be done here.

According to 63 percent of respondents, the main barriers to adoption are complexity and cost of infrastructure, installation and integration. More than half of businesses said they don’t fully understand how to deploy 5G solutions. More specifically, some 58 percent said they need more guidance on how to integrate 5G with existing infrastructure.

In addition, 53 percent said they could do with some practical advice on how to plan their deployments.

Interestingly, they don’t necessarily see the telecoms industry as the best source of that advice. 46 percent said they will turn to big tech to improve their grasp on how to deploy 5G in a way that is commercially viable, while 40 percent will look for those answers from CSPs. That tallies with the findings of a study last year by BearingPoint and Omdia, which found that CSPs were the lead partner in just 16 percent of enterprise 5G deals in 2021, down from 21 percent in 2020.

All these challenges, such as cost and the dearth of practical advice could be inhibiting investment. Despite the enthusiasm for, and understanding of 5G’s benefits, only 45 percent of the businesses surveyed by UK5G plan to invest in 5G by 2023. It suggests that the majority either don’t have the funds needed, and/or they have yet to fully work out how to go about rolling out the technology.

 

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