More 5G means greener society – report

New report from trade association Mobile UK says government can burnish their green credentials by doing more to promote 5G.

Ken Wieland, contributing editor

October 21, 2021

3 Min Read
More 5G means greener society – report

A report commissioned by Mobile UK, a trade association of the UK's mobile network operators, has called on policymakers and regulators to put their shoulders to the 5G wheel. Without faster deployment and adoption of the next-gen tech, argues the report, the UK's lofty net-zero ambitions will not be realized anytime soon.

The publication of the report, entitled "5G's crucial role in the race to combat climate change: how 5G will help lay the path to net zero," comes in the run-up of the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, a.k.a. COP26, to be held in Glasgow.

Figure 1: Color it green: According to Mobile UK, 5G could be key to tackling climate change. (Source: Hier und jetzt endet leider meine Reise auf Pixabay aber from Pixabay) Color it green: According to Mobile UK, 5G could be key to tackling climate change.
(Source: Hier und jetzt endet leider meine Reise auf Pixabay aber from Pixabay)

Based on Mobile UK's own analysis and external research, the report makes the case that 5G can support key industries – such as manufacturing, agriculture, transport and energy – in reducing their environmental footprints.

Absolving sins of emission

There are lots of eye-catching numbers to digest. In the energy sector, for example, the report claims 5G connectivity could save over 250 million tonnes in CO2 emissions globally by 2030 through accelerating the move to wind and solar energy.

Other research flagged by the report calculates that 5G-enabled use cases can reduce carbon emissions in the energy industry by almost 1% between 2020 to 2030. This is apparently the equivalent of half of all Canada's emissions in 2018.

In manufacturing, claims the report, 5G-enabled technology could help the combined G7 manufacturing sectors reduce their total carbon emissions by 1% during the period 2020 to 2035. By way of comparison, notes Mobile UK, a reduction of 1% equates to around 182 MtCO2e (which is roughly equivalent to 75% of the annual carbon emissions of France).

"Our report highlights the crucial role that 5G and wider mobile connectivity will have in assisting our efforts to mitigate climate change," said Gareth Elliott, head of policy and communications at Mobile UK.

"What is important is that governments recognise this early and work with the industry to enable the rapid deployment of 5G and mobile networks. By doing so we will be in a stronger position to realise our goals more quickly."

What can policy wonks do?

Among the report's recommendations is a reform of the UK's Permitted Development Rights.

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regime "to enable fast and effective deployment of mobile infrastructure." Another is to introduce business rates relief for new mobile infrastructure development, especially in harder-to­-reach areas.

Mobile UK also calls on the UK government to continue promoting full-fibre deployment, which plays a big part in facilitating 5G rollout.

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

contributing editor

Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.

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