3 million Australians won’t get 5G: Oxford Economics

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British global forecaster Oxford Economics claims that the 5G ban on Huawei in Australia will mean that up to 3 million Australians - mostly in rural and regional areas - will miss out on access to 5G technology by 2023.

Its new report, Restricting Competition in 5G Network Equipment, Oxford said that a failure to deliver 5G nationwide by 2035 means critical rural and regional businesses such as farming and the resources sector will miss out on 5G technology and the Australian economy will lose on US$8.2 billion.

The organisation also said that the ban will increase local operators’ deployment by up to $300 million annually over the next 10 years with a near 30 per cent increase which will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers.

Henry Worthingon, associate director at Oxford Economics said the arrival of 5G will unlock new revenue streams for businesses in all sectors of the economy and increase their productivity levels through enhanced capabilities including higher data speeds, lower latency and network slicing that will allow the development of critical applications.

“However, it is broadly agreed that restricting such as a significant player from bidding for 5G contracts will lead to higher prices, rollout delays and hence a slower diffusion of associated technological innovation,” Worthington said.

Huawei was banned from participating in the 5G mobile infrastructure rollout in Australia in August 2018.

Jeremy Mitchell, director of corporate affairs at Huawei Australia said that the report underlines what the Chinese networking equipment giant has been saying since the Turnbull government excluded it from the delivering 5G.

“The decision will only end up hurting ordinary Australians, especially hitting hardest those in regional Australia.”

He said Australian broadband consumers are already saddled with the huge costs of paying for the $151 billion national broadband network and the last thing they need are substantially higher costs on building out 5G.

“These extra costs mean that operators simply won’t be able to afford to deliver 5G services across rural and regional parts of Australia where the technology could be the most beneficial. For urban Australians, many of whom have fixed broadband, 5G will deliver Gigabit speeds that will help them stream 4K video and enjoy better online gaming - it’s the cherry on the cake.

“But for rural and regional Australians, 5G enables the kind of next-generation connectivity that enables them to operate their farming and agricultural businesses more productively,” he said.

Huawei last week hit back at suggestions by former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turbull that allowing Huawei to build Britain’s 5G network would hamper the ability of ‘Five Eye’ nations to share intelligence.

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