Source: STL Partners
In October 2019, STL Partners forecast that the benefits of 5G-enabled use cases across eight key industries could deliver a potential $1.4 trillion increase in global GDP by 2030. In August 2020, we re-evaluated the 5G opportunity following an in-depth study of 5G’s impact on the transport and logistics industry and taking into account the consequences of COVID-19 for the global economy.
The transport and logistics study highlighted new 5G-enabled use cases with the potential to drive efficiency and productivity beyond the industry itself, increasing the contribution of transport and logistics to the global GDP (almost 80% of the benefits of 5G within transport and logistics in 2030 are expected to be indirect benefits that will be shared across all industries due to increased productivity).
Additionally, it is expected that COVID-19 will drive demand for some 5G use cases, such as remote patient monitoring and video analytics solutions that determine if the public are respecting social distancing.
Of course, COVID-19 has negatively impacted the GDP of most countries. While the outlook for GDP recovery remains unclear, for the purposes of our forecast, STL Partners estimates that GDP will approach pre-COVID levels in 2022. Hence, despite reflecting these economic changes in our forecast, the impact of COVID-19 on 5G’s estimated contribution overall has been limited. This is because STL Partners has been conservative in estimates of 5G adoption over the immediate COVID-affected time period (adoption of most 5G use cases is expected to accelerate only after 2025, where the ramifications of COVID are almost impossible to accurately predict).
Industry research has highlighted that some operator 5G strategies and roll out may be negatively impacted by the pandemic (e.g. 5G spectrum delays, uncertainty over operator finances), but it is difficult to estimate COVID’s legacy on this front.
COVID-19’s impact continues to develop.