CTIA report: 5G will bring ‘massive jobs and GDP growth’

Amid the ongoing economic fallout from the global pandemic — and the prospect of a major federal infrastructure package that could include historic levels of telecom network investment — a new CTIA report touts 5G as a jobs and GDP powerhouse.

The report by Boston Consulting Group estimates that 5G deployment
will contribute $1.4 trillion to $1.7 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product over the next 10 years and create 3.8 million to 4.6 million jobs during that period. That estimated growth covers both direct infrastructure investment and deployment of the networks (about 30% of the total) as well as indirect growth in jobs and revenues as 5G enables innovation in other industries (about 70% of the total).

“This study confirms the significant benefits of 5G, today and for years to come,” CTIA President and CEO Meredith Atwell-Baker wrote in a blog post about the conclusions. “5G networks are a uniquely powerful economic engine,” she added.

“At first, 5G will contribute to economic activity directly through network infrastructure deployment,” the report says. “But as 5G networks continue to roll out and improve, an even greater wave of economic activity will occur indirectly as the networks enable new and improved use cases across industries. These will deliver significant socioeconomic benefits through higher productivity, improved cost competitiveness, and better health and safety.”

While more densely populated areas will realize the benefits of 5G sooner, BCG adds,”over time the regional effects of 5G will be far-reaching as innovation enables new use cases across all industries, including agriculture, health care, and education.” It also said that regions with “high concentrations of existing technology companies will see growth almost immediately as 5G networks are built and new services begin to be deployed.” In addition, regions with a “broader base of industries are likely to see more balanced, indirect 5G growth as those companies adopt new technologies such as smart sensors, virtual and augmented reality, and
cloud computing. A region’s demographic characteristics such as age, education, and income will also influence how much and how quickly 5G contributes to the local economy.”

The report estimates that over a ten-year period, 5G will have a positive GDP impact of $77 billion in the New York City metro area; $63 billion in Seattle, Washington; and $24 billion in Dallas, Texas. It also highlighted the anticipated impacts for smaller metropolitan areas, for instance, estimating that Phoenix, Arizona will see around 52,000 jobs created over 10 years in manufacturing and professional services.

The report says that in order for these benefits to be realized, “state, local, and federal governments must work to keep 5G’s rollout on track.” That, according to BCG, means continuing to make more licensed spectrum available, particularly midband spectrum; supporting “smarter and more efficient deployment policies,” and helping to build a strong talent pipeline by “encouraging the upskilling of the workforce and attracting the best talent from across the globe.”

Read the full report here.

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