Enhanced 4G and 5G capability has the potential to increase Scotland’s GDP by £17 billion by 2035, according to a new report from Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and Deloitte.
Scottish Futures Trust is an independent company, owned by the Scottish Government, charged with “delivering best value across public infrastructure.”
The SFT-commissioned report also states that if Scotland capitalises on opportunities presented by 4G and 5G, annual tax revenues could rise £5.7 billion “as a result from 3,000 new businesses employing 160,000 more people.”
The Deloitte report, commissioned by SFT, has been published to coincide with Scottish Government’s 5G strategy.
Derek Graham, programme director of SFT’s digital infrastructure team, explained: “The Deloitte report highlights the substantial benefits that Scotland could realise by fully embracing the potential opportunities that improved digital connectivity and future 5G technologies can offer.
“Having access to seamless digital connectivity is therefore paramount to securing inward investment where extensive cross-sector collaboration will be required to facilitate the development, demonstration and commercialisation of key use cases to encourage the private sector to invest further in Scotland.
“We will therefore use our previous experience working with the Scottish Government to influence how we support further collaboration between local authorities, industry and academia to set the foundations for Scotland to be 5G ready.”
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “I welcome this publication which, in setting out the economic case for investment in next generation mobile connectivity, provides strong support for the Scottish Government’s new 5G Strategy.
“We are taking forward a collaborative approach across the public and private sector to ensure that Scotland fully realises its potential as a forward-looking 5G nation.
“Working closely with Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) since 2014, we have used industry insight and experience to develop our £25 million Scottish 4G Infill programme.
“I look forward to continuing this successful partnership with SFT, who will be an integral part of the delivery team behind our 5G Strategy, to ensure Scotland can gain the economic and social benefits of this important enabling technology that has so much potential to support innovative new services.”
Sam Blackie, lead partner for the EMEA economic consulting practice at Deloitte, concluded: “5G technology has the potential to enhance connectivity and productivity across Scotland.
“In order to unlock the economic benefits 5G can bring, there are a number of challenges for businesses to address.
“These range from securing spectrum, ensuring fibre availability, and establishing the business case for 5G deployment and the improvements it can bring.
“At the same time, it’s important to note that while 5G is poised to deliver significant benefits to communities and businesses, there are still vast gains to be realised from improving existing 4G connectivity, particularly in rural areas.”