News Hub

5G will transform UK society more than AI, says new Vodafone study

Written by Thu 29 Jun 2023


More than half of UK adults see 5G as having the potential to greatly enhance their everyday lives more so than AI, according to a new study by Vodafone.

The study revealed that 53% of UK adults are optimistic about the positive influence 5G can have on their daily lives.

A healthy result for 5G

In healthcare, it is estimated that 5G technology could help the National Health Service (NHS) save nearly £1 billion per year, which is the equivalent of 15,400 new full-time nursing positions.

New modelling by Vodafone and WPI Economics show that 5G can enable remote checkups and real-time patient monitoring through Internet of Things (IoT) technology. This could reduce the need for GP and hospital visits through more preventative healthcare approaches.

Beyond healthcare, 5G technology promises substantial savings and efficiencies in other areas too.

Installing 5G-enabled sensors on railways could cut down delays and cancellations, saving passengers more than 25 million hours over five years. This amounts to £326 million in productivity and wellbeing gains.

5G-powered smart city lights, which respond to movement, could also help local councils save £700 million over five years while reducing CO2 emissions by one million tonnes, which is the equivalent of replacing 250,000 petrol or diesel cars with electric alternatives.

According to the Vodafone survey of 2,000 UK adults, key sectors expected to benefit most from 5G include healthcare, utilities, and railways. These happen to be the areas in which respondents say they have been most frustrated in over the last year.

Not everyone is on board

Despite the optimistic outlook, not everyone is fully sold on 5G technology.

Around 31% of those aged between 55 and 64 are yet to see how 5G can enhance their daily lives, compared to 73% of tech-savvy 18-to-34-year-olds.

A further 41% of people polled by OnePoll say that they are reluctant to adopt 5G technologies, saying that they are content with their current situation and do not believe the advanced technology will lead to significant improvements.

“It is up to us to bring to life the difference technologies like 5G Ultra can make to everyday life – the streets we walk down, the trains we travel on and how we look after one another,” said Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone UK.

Vodafone and Three merger promises UK 5G leadership

The revelations of this study comes on the heels of the planned merger between Vodafone UK and Three UK, aimed at accelerating the creation of a world-class 5G network and establishing the UK as a leader in this technology.

Backed by an £11 billion investment, the merged entity aims to extend 5G Standalone coverage to over 99% of the UK population by 2034, which could bring in an economic windfall of up to £5 billion annually by 2030.

Vodafone launched, 5G Ultra, the UK’s first 5G Standalone service in June 2023. The new service is purportedly the most technologically advanced network.

“Our proposed combination with Three UK will give us the scale to accelerate investment in the UK’s digital future. The launch of Vodafone 5G Ultra gives a taste of what life could be like. Together, we can deliver innovation further and faster,” added Essam

“Our research shows that half the population think technology could make their lives easier. For the other half, it’s up to us to bring to life the difference technologies like 5G Ultra can make,” said Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s UK CEO. “Our proposed combination with Three UK will give us the scale to accelerate investment in the UK’s digital future.”

While AI continues to dominate headlines, Vodafone’s research reveals the transformative impact of other technologies like 5G and the confidence felt by the British public.

> Read more: UK government to invest £110m in 5G and 6G research

Hungry for more tech news?

Sign up for your weekly tech briefings!

Written by Thu 29 Jun 2023

Send us a correction Send us a news tip