Over the next few years, 5G – fifth-generation wireless – will revolutionise the way we work and live. Data will flow freely between more people, more places and more devices at speeds and volumes we have never seen before.
Australia is in prime position to take advantage of this transformation, with a world-leading 5G ecosystem that has seen more than 4,000 operational bases already rolled out across the country and 5G coverage expected to reach 95 per cent of Australians by 2025.
For Australian and international businesses and investors, this represents an enormous opportunity, says a recent report produced for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) by PwC.
PwC research found that 5G innovations have the potential to unlock billions of dollars in value-add uplift in industries such as financial services, transport, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, healthcare, mining, agriculture and ICT, to name just a few.
Australia’s broad geographical footprint – coupled with its extensive 5G coverage and rapid adoption rate among households – provides a unique environment to test 5G products for other international markets. And with industry adoption of 5G still emerging in Australia, there is untapped business potential for global players seeking scalable returns from 5G-related investment.
“Australia is an ideal location to develop and test [5G] products and services to be deployed in other markets,” says PwC Australia’s Lead for Telco, Media and Technology Mohammad Chowdhury. “It also presents a sizeable standalone investor opportunity in some industries, such as mining, health and renewables.”
Australia’s culture of innovation creates a special advantage for R&D collaborations and partnerships. In mining, for instance, there are opportunities to partner with Australia’s world-leading miners to explore 5G to automate mining operations and improve safety.
In the booming renewable energy sector, investment in 5G-enabled technologies will improve the efficiency of Australia’s smart grids and enable real-time trading marketplaces – important in helping the country meet its carbon reduction goals and become a clean energy superpower.
In healthcare, there are opportunities to digitise the system; secure cloud connectivity between onsite and offsite health applications, systems and devices; and transform remote health services.
In manufacturing, 5G has the potential to digitise manufacturing sites and supply chains. In transport, Australia is looking to test 5G technology for smart transport infrastructure.
In a 5G world, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics will play an increasingly vital role in these and other industries – another area of strength for Australia, which has an impressive track record of innovation and cutting-edge research in these technologies.
Payment-processing giant Mastercard is already mapping out the 5G opportunities in Australia, which is one of the company’s top three performing regions worldwide.
“One interesting thing about the Australian market is the high level of concentration in many business sectors, which means you can effect change as a network quickly with few partners, whereas in highly fragmented markets like the US that’s much, much harder,” says Mastercard Australasia Division President Richard Wormald.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why Australia has led, and continues to lead, in innovations in network businesses like ours.”
Ericsson and Microsoft are among other global businesses that have chosen Australia for 5G investment and collaborations with local companies. Ericsson predicts that 5G will be the fastest deployed mobile communication technology in history and adds: “… Australia is world leading in terms of how much spectrum has been allocated for 5G.”
To find out more about Australia’s 5G ecosystem and the incentives and opportunities available for international businesses and investors, contact an Austrade investment specialist.