5G socio-economic impact

11 Apr 2019 09:00h - 10:45h

Event report


The session was moderated by Ms Patricia Benoit (Guyot, CEO, PBG Consulting) and featured discussions on the economic and social benefits of 5G-enabled transformation, and how to assure its most inclusive nature.

Mr Marc Vancoppenolle (Global Head of Government Relations, Nokia) started by setting the scene. According to him, we are living the fourth industrial revolution, but only part of the population is benefiting from digitalisation. Vancoppenolle believes that 5G is not only about connecting people, but also connecting things. He said that the biggest advantage of 5G technology is the low latency and, for that reason, it will be possible to switch from a best effort network to a network with quality of service for specific applications. Vancoppenolle thinks that it will be possible to combine operational technologies and Internet of things (IoT), which was not possible in the previous industrial revolutions. He explored some use cases, such as use of drones in rescue situations, autonomous vehicles, and smart agriculture. Finally, Vancoppenolle talked that regulation should not be an obstacle to new business models, specifically specialised services, and cannot be an infringement of net neutrality.

Mr Mark Spelman (Head of Thought Leadership, World Economic Forum [WEF]) talked about the WEF programme. He argued that 5G will bring many benefits in a micro and macro vision, creating value in the industry and the lives. Spelman explored some use cases, such as health care, transportation, and mobility. According to him, there will be a productivity gain and cost reduction in many industries with the use of 5G. He mentioned concerns about cybersecurity. One example was an invasion of a robotic system controlled remotely during a surgery. Other important points are that it is necessary to think about are some regulatory issues and the digital divide. He thinks that fiber is the future, because this the way to guarantee good quality of service necessary for 5G and companies will need to invest on this kind of infrastructure.

In his participation, Mr Ben Wreschner (Chief Economist, Vodafone) talked about some regulatory challenges. According to him, one of the risks for 5G implementation is the existence of different regulations for different industries, like some rules for the telecommunications sector, others for transportation, which will complicate the adoption of the technology based on 5G. He explored the dichotomy between the use of personal data and privacy. Wreschner thinks that companies need to adopt a careful approach in the use of data to bring good services without spying people. He believes that perfect robots are not possible, but they can perform better than people in many cases. For example, in the future, autonomous vehicles will be involved in accidents, but possibly the rates will be lower than today with human drivers.

Mr Marcin Cichy (President of the Office of Electronic Communications, Poland and Vice chair of BEREC, EU) talked about the challenges of building a common regulatory approach in the EU. He thinks that international co-operation between operators, vendors, content providers, and application providers are essential in 5G adoption. According to Cichy, the spectrum distribution is a controversial point since it is very limited and there are disputes about it. He said that the social and economic benefits of 5G technology are very clear and the real issues are in the backstage, such as economical, engineering, and political issues. In the end of his participation, Cichy explored the importance of training in digital skills, especially for youth and entrepreneurs.


By Nathalia Sautchuk Patrício