How 5G Will Become the Underlying Foundation of the U.S. Economy

A message from Qualcomm Technologies
Aug 11, 2021 6:00 PM ET

Originally published by Axios

5G is poised to generate up to $1.5 trillion in additional GDP in the U.S. between 2021 and 2025, according to a new economic study by Accenture, commissioned by Qualcomm. ‍

  • ‍The GDP growth and labor market impacts are expected to be felt virtually everywhere — across the U.S. and every industry.

What this means: The fifth generation of wireless networking could have a transformative impact on the country’s economy and has the potential to fuel an engine of economic growth across sectors in a post-COVID-19 economy.

Why it’s important: “5G isn’t just faster than 4G,” says Kirti Gupta, vice president of Economic Strategy at Qualcomm Incorporated. “It’s the railroads, the waterway, the airways of tomorrow. It’s the infrastructure of tomorrow.”

  • ‍5G enables applications that are not possible with 4G — including support of massive IoT, remote control of equipment— with ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability.
  • Qualcomm’s 5G breakthroughs can offer greater network capacity and support up to one million devices per square kilometer.

5G can help impact every industry by creating new experiences and revenue streams, delivering cost and productivity benefits and supporting sustainability and resiliency.

  • ‍The new technology provides a platform that enables greater innovation, according to associate director of Economic and County Risk at IHS Markit Karen Campbell, a firm that also closely studies 5G’s economic impact.‍
  • “And innovation increases productivity, income, investment opportunities and jobs,” she added.

Accenture’s “The Impact of 5G on the United States Economy” reports that some of the sectors that will experience massive transformation include:‍

  • ‍Manufacturing: 5G-enabled factories can experience about 20-30% overall productivity gains.‍
  • Health care: The expansion of telemedicine powered by 5G allows for more care to happen at home, where cost savings are greater than 30% and drive better patient outcomes.‍
  • Automotive: Connected vehicle technologies have the potential to reduce the severity of non-impaired accidents by up to 80%, potentially saving $3.6 billion in collision costs.

The study also revealed that “5G will generate significant employment throughout the economy.”

Key number: Between 2021 and 2025, this wireless technology will create or transform up to 16 million jobs across all sectors of the economy.‍‍

  • ‍This includes full-time, part-time and temporary jobs — and in many sectors, they represent high-quality employment at prevailing wages.‍
  • The nature of these jobs will also change, including more data scientists, engineers and automation professionals.

The challenge: The 5G economy introduces a new level of complexity to policymaking and regulations as new business models emerge and industries continue to transform digitally. 

The report identifies several areas that policymakers should consider to secure America’s role as a 5G leader:‍

  • ‍Creating a 5G national strategy for innovation, industrial and ecosystem support with IP legal protection.‍
  • Developing policies to foster innovation and design within the 5G value chain.‍
  • Fostering a robust global supply chain to power 5G use cases via trusted sources and reliable producers.‍
  • Accelerating network deployment, including incentivizing mobile broadband investment in underserved areas.‍
  • Establishing subsidies and tax incentives to encourage pilot projects that demonstrate the benefits of 5G.‍
  • Streamlining industry-specific processes and policymaking, such as the approval process for medical devices and health care use cases. 

The takeaway: Qualcomm’s 5G breakthroughs can help ensure the global economy emerges from this pandemic even stronger than it was before.

  • “5G has the potential to get us over what could be a very devastating recessionary time and help us build economic resilience,” said Campbell.