5G’s impact on society under the microscope

Orange commissioned analysis and research group Omdia to study the social, economic and environmental impacts that 5G technology will have in France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Belgium and Slovakia by the year 2030. Specialising in the networks and telecommunications sector, the group produced a report that underlines the value generated by new mobile networks.

“We are looking to make the study an open source of information in order to enhance understanding of the impacts of 5G among all players in the ecosystem”

As a responsible carrier and as part of its commitment to sustainable development, Orange aspires to build networks and services that have a positive impact. The Group believes that the technological progress exemplified by 5G should be used not only to create practical solutions for users; it should also support economic development and the workplace and help to tackle the challenges stemming from the green transition.

A close look at the effects of 5G

“At Orange, we are convinced that 5G is and will be a value-creator for many sectors in the countries where we operate,” explains Karine Dussert-Sarthe, Director of Product Marketing & Design at Orange. “New networks are as much about stimulating productivity, economic development and the jobs market as they are about enabling environmental efficiency initiatives launched by businesses and communities. We wanted to back up this belief with tangible data on the impact of new networks in our markets, which is why we turned to Omdia for their expertise.”
A global analysis and research leader in the telecommunications and networks sector, Omdia conducted a thorough study into the impacts of 5G using a tried and tested methodology. “The model we have developed, which has been constantly expanded and refined since 2016, measures the impacts of 5G on the economy,” notes Mike Roberts, Consultant and Research Director at Omdia. “We adjust this model for each of the six countries included in the study (France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Belgium and Slovakia) and feed it with data taken from our own predictive analysis work and from the countries themselves, especially where greenhouse gas emissions are concerned. We then look at how 5G will be rolled out over the next 10 years, focusing on 21 use cases in 3 areas: enhanced mobile broadband, massive IoT (Internet of Things), and mission-critical services. This allows us to model the impacts of 5G in each use case, forecasting the consequences in economic terms on 16 industries, the job market and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Generally positive impacts

At the macro level, the study points to a largely positive impact. The economic output of these six countries is expected to benefit from an estimated €416 billion boost by 2030, thanks to 5G technology. The new networks will result in over 1 million jobs being created. In terms of the environment, 5G technology will prevent 33 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent from being released into the atmosphere.

Aside from the numbers, 5G has many uses that reflect its value as a state-of-the-art technological enabler that can support the general public, communities and businesses in addressing their challenges. “5G will have even more uses than 4G,” Roberts adds. “While 4G belonged to the generation of smartphone technology, 5G will belong to that generation and to the generation of smart factories, smart buildings, smart cities and so on. It will contribute to the creation of businesses and jobs in numerous sectors and improve the efficiency of existing industries. The new networks will also tie in closely with the environmental strategies that countries implement. As an example, Poland hopes to gradually increase the share of renewables in its energy mix, even though its energy needs and economy are still largely reliant on coal. 5G could help ease this transition in different ways, by connecting solar/wind farms to optimise how they are managed, maintained and more.”

Research work for use by the entire ecosystem

While this study provides valuable insight into countries with a stake in the potential benefits of 5G where Orange operates, it is also meant for use by the ecosystem as a whole. “The report gives countries an indication as to where 5G will be most effective, enabling them to better focus their efforts and investments,” says Karine Dussert-Sarthe. Going further, we are looking to make it an open, publicly accessible source of information, with the aim of enhancing understanding of the impacts of 5G amongst all players in the ecosystem and ultimately encouraging widespread adoption of the technology. In a way, this study stands as a call for action for everyone to embrace 5G. The torch now passes to Orange 5G Labs, who can enable businesses and communities to test this technology’s real-world potential and devise its use cases for tomorrow.”
“The impacts of 5G are being felt today and will continue to grow,” says Mike Roberts in summary. “It can be a powerful force in supporting the economy, the jobs market and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are set out in the study. We are not saying that the technology is perfect—there are pros and cons—but the positives outweigh the negatives on the whole.”

Updated October 7, 2021: Slovakia added.

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