Vodafone UK estimated 5G could contribute £6.3 billion to the value of the manufacturing industry in the country by 2030, but urged the government to support the sector in integrating private networks in factories to unleash the full potential of the technology.

In a fresh report, Vodafone revealed 5G could boost productivity and drive growth in manufacturing, particularly in Wales and parts of England.

A key area identified is the use of bespoke 5G private networks to enable sharing of large quantities of data from numerous devices in real time.

The report also highlighted the role 5G could play for avoiding expensive unplanned downtime by forecasting repair needs, the use of AR and VR for design planning prior to prototyping, and seamless connection between factory workers and remotely-located engineers.

“We are only beginning the 5G journey, but through our work with Ford, we know it offers huge potential for the manufacturing sector and beyond”, business director Anne Sheehan commented.

The UK government’s part
Vodafone called for incentives for manufacturers to upgrade their factories with 5G private networks, including policies around technology upgrades with tax allowances.

The operator also recommended the government to aim to turn the UK into a global leader in the use of 5G in manufacturing in the next decade, and to create test and innovation centres across the country.

It also advocated for the extension of the UK’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (5GTT) for industrial trials by five years to 2027.