Restrictions on the use of Huawei’s network equipment in the UK’s 5G infrastructure could cost the UK economy as much as £6.8 billion, a study has claimed.
According to an independent report from Assembly, commissioned by Mobile UK, a restriction placed on Huawei in the telecom supply chain could delay a full 5G launch by between 18 and 24 months and cost the UK economy between £4.5bn and £6.8bn.
The new analysis, based on the government’s own projections, and compiled with the co-operation of UK mobile operators, found that a delay to 5G rollout while operators make alternative procurement arrangements with other suppliers may seriously threaten the UK’s aspiration to be a world leader in 5G, something that has been central to the UK Government’s industrial strategy since 2016.
The importance of early 5G leadership to realize the economic benefits of the technology can’t be understated. If any restriction were to be imposed on Huawei, many of the benefits associated with 5G leadership could be lost for good, not simply delayed as a result – these include significant productivity gains that stand to benefit the UK’s global economic standing.
Competition in the supply chain has so far been good for technological progress and meant that the UK has benefited from cost-effective rollout and strong mobile coverage.
The research shows that, across a number of industries which are expected to take advantage of 5G connectivity, new sources of growth and innovation may be delayed with further consequences for consumers and a damaging effect on UK businesses.