350,000 jobs may fail to materialise due to three-year delay
The UK could stand to miss out on £108 billion worth of economic benefit and the creation of 350,000 jobs due to a cumulative three-year delay in its 5G rollout.
This is according to a new independent report by Assembly Research and commissioned by Huawei.
The report, titled “Regional and consumer impact of a delayed 5G roll-out”, is the second report Assembly has produced on behalf of the Chinese vendor. Earlier in the year, it estimated that the removal of Huawei from the UK’s 5G networks by 2027 could cost the UK economy up to £18.2 billion.
Assembly’s new report claims that a three-year delay to 5G rollout, as warned of by Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden, will be at odds with the UK Government’s promise to ‘level up’ different regions of the UK. Parts of England that could miss out on investment include rural areas, the North West and North East of England, and the Midlands, as the operators would look to prioritise areas such as London and the Southeast.
According to Assembly, London and the South East of England stand to benefit £65 billion from 5G this decade, representing 38 per cent of the total national economic benefit.
“The Government’s own expectation of its restrictions on Huawei is for up to a three-year delay in 5G roll-out,” said Assembly principal analyst Matthew Howett. “The risk of course is that this will be felt by operators being forced to focus their deployments in more profitable urban centres and that would inevitably mean it takes longer to reach, and fully cover, more rural and remote parts of Britain with 5G. If this plays out there is a risk of a widened digital divide.”
Recently, the House of Commons Defence Committee said that there was “clear evidence of collusion” between Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party, and suggested bringing forward the deadline for removing its equipment from 2027 to 2025. Huawei has repeatedly denied links to China’s government.