Deploying the next generation of high-speed 5G wireless networks could create up to three million jobs and add approximately $500 billion to U.S. GDP through direct and indirect potential benefits, according to a new report [PDF] from Accenture (NYSE: ACN), commissioned by CTIA.
Accenture Strategy’s analysis estimates that wireless operators will invest as much as $275 billion nationwide over seven years as they build out 5G. Estimates highlight that the wireless industry’s investment in deploying 5G could create direct impacts of 350,000 new construction jobs and a total of approximately 850,000 jobs in the United States when considering suppliers and other partners cumulatively over the seven years of network build-out. The broader economic benefits from 5G could create an additional 2.2 million jobs in communities across the country.
“The report findings show what an incredible opportunity there is in local economies,” said Tejas Rao, managing director and Mobile Offering Network lead for Accenture’s North America practice. “5G-powered smart city solutions applied to the management of vehicle traffic and electrical grids alone could produce an estimate of $160 billion in benefits and savings for local communities and their residents. These 5G attributes will enable cities to reduce commute times, improve public safety and generate significant smart-grid efficiencies.”
Sanjay Dhar, managing director in Accenture’s North American Strategy practice, added, “Full realization of the economic growth and cost savings will depend on how robustly 5G networks are deployed locally, and will require different approaches in local communities from those used in the past.”
Noting that achieving the full benefits, speed and capacity of 5G will require hundreds of thousands of new, shoebox-sized small cells, the study calls upon municipal leaders to consider a new approach to wireless siting policies. The study strongly suggests changes such as streamlining local permitting and regulations to account for the size and number of small cells needed, improving access to public rights of way, and changing wireless antenna fee structures to support the new small cell deployment model.
“5G will be transformative for all Americans. Accenture’s report confirms the significant benefits from the next generation of wireless, driven by hundreds of billions of dollars that the wireless industry will invest to deploy 5G,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, President and CEO of CTIA. “Not only will 5G deployment unlock substantial job growth and economic gains in cities and towns across the country, it will help make our lives safer. The Accenture report importantly underscores the need for policymakers at all levels of government to take action—cities and states with modernized zoning and siting rules that support tomorrow’s networks will be the first to realize the economic and civic benefits of 5G.”