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Slow rollout of Standalone 5G is costing SME’s £8.6 billion annually in lost productivity potential, says Vodafone

Staff Reporter
March 1, 2024

Vodafone Business estimates the slow rollout of standalone 5G is costing small and medium enterprises £8.6 billion a year in potential productivity savings.

Standalone 5G networks offer superior coverage, speed, and connectivity compared to non-standalone setups, unlocking advanced services such as augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and IoT.

In its report, titled “Supercharging Small Businesses,” Vodafone emphasised the need for accelerated deployment of 5GSA technology to drive growth and competitiveness in the UK SME sector.

The report comes hot on the heels of the news that Virgin Media O2 is rolling out SA 5G to 14 cities.

The study analyses 17 European countries for 5G coverage, SME adoption of 5G-enabled technology, and 5G speeds. The UK ranks fifth but has the potential to leapfrog its competitors into second place, trailing only Denmark, by accelerating the deployment of standalone 5G networks.

The report highlights a limited window of opportunity for the UK to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy but emphasizes that timely investment in 5G infrastructure is “paramount.”

Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, commented: “There is huge potential for businesses across the economy to benefit from advances in technology like 5G. This was a major theme of our Wireless Infrastructure Strategy published last year. As this report shows, the UK is one of the best places for small businesses to use technology to grow, and we want to use 5G connectivity as a springboard for that.”

Donelan: “huge potential for businesses across the economy to benefit from advances in technology like 5G.

Kevin Hollinrake MP, Minister for Enterprise, Markets, and Small Business, said: “Over 16 million people in the UK work for small and medium-sized businesses. We need to help them use technology to grow even faster. That involves providing people with the necessary skills to understand how to make the most of innovative technologies such as AI. It also means ensuring we have first-class digital infrastructure including gigabit broadband and standalone 5G rolled out across every part of the UK.”

Emma Jones, CEO of Enterprise Nation, stressed the significance of enhancing 5G networks to create an environment conducive to SME growth and innovation. She highlighted the role of digital infrastructure in providing critical competitive advantages.

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