O2 UK predicted 5G could significantly reduce the UK’s carbon emissions in the space of 15 years, with the greatest benefits to be reaped by utility companies and the home energy sector.

Research by the operator tipped the next-generation networks to shed up to 269 megatonnes of CO2 from the country’s emissions by 2035, declaring the technology as vital to achieving UK goals to be carbon neutral by 2050.

It noted England’s total emissions alone in 2018 amounted to 280 megatonnes.

Smart technology is forecast to cut 181 megatonnes of carbon emissions from the utility and home energy sectors over the 15 year period.

The operator explained 5G could lower energy consumption by enabling ultra-fast communication between machines, or deploying smart meters capable of tracking energy usage.

O2 UK CEO Mark Evans stated connected technologies enabled by 4G and 5G “could power a green revolution over the next decade and beyond”. He underlined the UK’s opportunity “to become a leading adopter of 5G and unleash the power of connected solutions to build a greener future for generations to come”.

The company reaffirmed its goal to become UK’s first net zero mobile network by 2025.

It noted 5G had been deployed at 60 sites by end-June and it aimed to have 70 in operation by the year-end.