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Press Release | 27 Jul 2021

5G could provide £6.3bn boost to UK manufacturing by 2030

5G could provide £6.3bn boost to UK manufacturing by 2030

Mobile private networks can boost productivity in factories across the UK's regions and nations, from Wales to the Midlands and the North East.

A new report by Vodafone has found that the adoption of 5G could add as much as £6.3bn to the value of the UK manufacturing industry by 2030, transforming manufacturing operations and significantly increasing productivity. Investment in 5G in manufacturing could increase growth in the sector across the country, especially in the North West, North East, Midlands and Wales.

The report, ‘Powering Up Manufacturing, Levelling Up Britain’ with economic analysis by WPI Economics, looks ahead to how the technology could impact the UK’s manufacturing industry and highlights how the adoption of 5G in the manufacturing industry could play a significant role in realising Government’s “levelling up” ambitions, especially in the North West, North East, East and West Midlands and Wales.

The report calls on the Government to set an ambitious target to become a global leader in the use of 5G technology in manufacturing over the next decade. The report recommends support for manufacturers to invest in 5G mobile private networks, and the creation of 5G test and innovation centres in the regions and nations that stand to benefit most from increased take-up of 5G in manufacturing.

infographic showing potential benefits of 5G in factories
Just some of the potential benefits that 5G could bring to factories

The report highlights key areas where 5G can support economic growth in the manufacturing industry across the UK:

  • Wirelessly connected factories with bespoke 5G mobile private networks (MPNs) can support the sharing of large quantities of data from thousands of devices simultaneously in real time, enabling better and faster decision making, facilitating machine learning and allowing processes to be adapted to maximise productivity.
  • 5G allows for predictive maintenance. This means monitoring hundreds of variables, forecasting when and where repairs will be needed and avoiding expensive unplanned downtime.
  • 5G-supported Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology can be used to visualise and plan designs in detail prior to the construction of physical prototypes. This will help workers to maintain and repair failed machinery and enable workers to be trained with less direct use of expensive physical machinery. 5G-supported AR and VR technology can also connect workers on a factory floor with engineers and designers located elsewhere, enabling them to access technical expertise without costly and time-consuming site visits.

Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone said: “We are only beginning the 5G journey, but through our work with Ford, we know it offers huge potential for the manufacturing sector and beyond.

“To realise this potential, we need to all get behind it, from Government and Ofcom creating the right policy and regulatory environment, through to businesses embracing the power of innovation, and, of course, us as network operators creating this network of the future.”

Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman said: “5G can change the way Britain builds and we’ve sparked a wave of innovation in UK manufacturing through our £200m 5G trials scheme.

“We’ve seen driverless vehicles at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, VR at BAM Nutall building sites in Scotland and Vodafone boosting laser-welding robots in Essex.

“The benefits of 5G for improving productivity, efficiency and safety in our manufacturing sector and beyond are clear, and Vodafone’s report is a ringing endorsement of how this revolutionary technology can help us build back better from the pandemic.”

– ends –

Notes to editors

Vodafone has experience in developing mobile private networks (MPNs) for businesses and their needs, from Centrica’s gas plant in Yorkshire to the waters of Plymouth Sound and Ford’s car factory in Essex.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of June 2021, we have 5G in 364 locations across Europe – 124 in the UK and 240 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

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