Vodafone highlights benefits of rapid 5G SA rollout for UK economy

Vodafone noted that 5G SA coverage in all populated areas across the U.K. by 2030 is a core ambition of the government

The difference between slow and accelerated 5G rollout could represent an additional £7.4 billion ($9.27 billion) to the U.K. economy, according to a recent research by Vodafone.

5G Standalone (5G SA) coverage in all populated areas across the U.K. by 2030 is a core ambition of the U.K. government’s wireless infrastructure strategy. However, according to economic modeling commissioned by Vodafone UK and conducted by WPI Economics, there is a significant difference between slow and rapid rollout of 5G SA.

Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone U.K., said: “Digital technology has the potential to transform the way we live, work and access vital public services. The faster we can make these opportunities available to customers, the greater the overall impact to the U.K. We’ve already begun, but the proposed combination with Three UK will mean we have the scale to accelerate investment to bring benefits to businesses and consumers sooner rather than later. We have committed to £11bn of investment to deliver 5G SA across the U.K.”

In comparison to a sluggish deployment of 5G SA, the benefits of an accelerated rollout are particularly high in regions such as the South East, which could see an additional £790 million by 2030, or the East Midlands with an additional £310 million by 2030 – with these same regions also having the most to lose under a delayed rollout, Vodafone said.

The research underlines the importance of the combined Vodafone/Three UK network which will reach more than 99% population coverage with a 5G SA network by 2034, and over 95% population coverage by 2030 for nationwide coverage of 5G Standalone in all populated areas by 2030.

Last month, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is providing an early opportunity for interested third parties to comment on the potential impacts that the proposed merger between local carriers Vodafone and Three could have on competition in the domestic telecom market.

The entity said that announcement represents a preliminary action ahead of launching a formal investigation on the proposed merger. While it is customary for the CMA to investigate and decide whether a merger can proceed, it will consult telecom regulator Ofcom about the process.

Vodafone Group and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings had previously entered into binding agreements in relation to a combination of their telecommunication businesses in the U.K. Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone will own 51% of the new entity while Hutchison Group will own 49%.

Essam previously noted that Vodafone and Three could potentially reduce investments in the 5G field if local regulators block the proposed merger between the two telcos.

The executive had indirectly warned regulators that a decision to block the attempted merger of Vodafone and Three UK would result in them cutting their investment in digital infrastructure and being unable to deliver on the U.K. Government’s goals in the 5G field.

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