5G, the next generation of wireless technology will create 3 million US jobs adding $500 billion to the US GDP according to a recent report by Accenture.
The US wireless industry, which generates $475 billion in GPD, supports more than 4.7 million jobs and creates $1 trillion in economic output.
Now, with the rollout of 5G underway, the industry is expected to add nearly 63 percent more jobs to build-out network infrastructure across the US. Wireless providers will invest more than $275 billion in US infrastructure in the next three years, according to experts.
5G requires much denser infrastructure than 4G – with more than 300,000 small cells needed over the next four years. For reference, this is relatively equal to two times the number of macro towers built in the last 30 years.
Estimates highlight that the wireless industry’s investment in deploying 5G could create a direct impact of more than 350,000 new construction jobs and a total of 850,000 jobs in the US when considering suppliers and partners cumulatively over the network build-out.
Further, the broader economic benefits from 5G will create an additional 2.2 million jobs in local communities across the country. Communities of all sizes are likely to see jobs created. Small to medium-sized cities with a population of 30,000 to 100,000 could see 300 to 1,000 jobs created while in larger cities like Chicago, as many as 90,000 jobs created, according to the report.
“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,” Roa stated.
Economic Impact From Convergence of 5G & IoT
5G’s super-fast speed, capacity, and reliability will enable the full potential of the Internet of Things devices and sensors, which connect everything from industrial robots to smartwatches.
5G networks are already revolutionizing IoT by enabling autonomous manufacturing and transforming energy and transportation industries and are estimated to add nearly $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030, the report projects.
5G networks will form the backbone of digital connectivity driving IoT enhancements, and the use of predictive maintenance on factory machines, warehouse floors, connected smart home products and healthcare device technologies.
By 2022, nearly 18 billion devices will use IoT-related and concurrently global users with 5G subscriptions are expected to reach almost half a billion.
Workforce Shift from to “The Internet of Skills”
And while the promise a 5G economy will enable autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and ubiquitous augmented and virtual reality boosting revenue through newly found efficiencies, it will also cause a massive shift in the labor force.
Whether it is manufacturing, utilities or retail, increased connectivity and automation will undoubtedly require a new tech-enabled workforce.
Retail, for example, is already being transformed by competition from e-commerce and the emergence of augmented and virtual reality, removing the need for consumers to try things and buy goods in person- resulting in fewer sales workers. In the healthcare sector, virtual reality will enable insurance companies and educational firms to reap higher profits using telemedicine and tele-education by cutting staff. It’s not that we won’t need salespersons, doctors and teachers in the future, but we will need far fewer to serve the population.
As the convergence of 5G and IoT accelerate technology-driven productivity and lower costs of production across many verticals, it will undoubtedly make more traditional jobs obsolete.
At the same time, this convergence will create demand for new kinds of jobs what Mischa Dohler, Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s College London calls ” internet of skills.” Dohler describes the emerging 5G enabled workforce as one empowered by the internet of skills where workers will use their unique skill-set in ways that perhaps could never have been done in a traditional 9-5 job.
According to Doehler, enhanced mobile broadband will enable business owners and gig economy workers to engage clients and audiences in virtually real-time via enhanced video and virtual reality. Billions of connected devices will create the need for thousands of skilled technicians to install, sustain and maintain these networks. And for entrepreneurs and developers, unlimited opportunities will open up to develop IoT applications that can be turned into the next big killer app and provide for previously unimagined and unmet business needs.