Ireland stands to lose €12.6bn if it fails to move fast on 5G

Ireland could face an economic loss of €12.6bn by 2030 if it fails to invest in 5G, a new report warns.

If Ireland follows a low investment approach to 5G over the rest of the decade then the ‘cost’ will be €12.6 billion in national income ‘foregone’ by 2030, a new report from Amárach Research on behalf of Huawei Ireland and the Small Firms’ Association.

Basing this on OECD predictions of long-term growth between 2020 and 2035, the report estimates that the opportunity cost of low 5G adoption in Ireland is a GDP loss of €6.1bn by 2025, rising to €12.6bn by 2030 and €20.9bn by 2035.

“Ireland is on the cusp of an exciting 5G future”

The report points out that Ireland’s economy is still in shock from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Multiplier effects

The Central Bank forecasts that it could take between two and five years to get back to the levels of 2019.

It cited a European Union report on the socio-economic impact of 5G that estimated for ever €1 spent directly on 5G capacity (network infrastructure) would generate over €2.50 in multiplier effects for consumers and businesses in 2020.

The report reasons that as 5G capabilities become more ubiquitous then the multiplier effects would increase for a time.

The EU expects that 5G will be directly and indirectly responsible for 10,700 jobs in Ireland alone in 2020 (2.4 million jobs throughout the EU).

Currently, GSMA estimates that mobile technologies and services generate 4.7pc of global GDP and support 30 million jobs directly and indirectly. Both figures are expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

According to the report three in four SME owners and decision makers believe that technology will play an important part in the better management of Ireland’s energy resources. Similarly, just over 7 in 10 (71pc) believe that better technology will help Ireland become more energy independent. Crucially, over 7 in 10 (72pc) of Irish SMEs believe that technology will also help Ireland reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

80pc of SMEs believe that effective 5G investment will play an important role in ensuring Ireland remains an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.

67pc of SMEs believe 5G will develop Irish start-ups and new businesses.

“Ireland is on the cusp of an exciting 5G future. In the coming years the services, applications and connectivity powered by 5G will have a huge impact on our lives – both at home and at work. For business it will radically change both what we do and how we do it,” said Tony Yangxu, CEO of Huawei Ireland.

“Over the past 10 years Huawei has invested more than $4bn in 5G research and development, to better understand its potential, its application and the opportunities it will create for businesses and society as a whole. Working with operators globally, we are deploying 5G, helping countries support the growth of their digital infrastructure. In Ireland too, we are focused on working with our partners to bring it to market quickly and seamlessly, so the digital transformation is realised as smoothly as possible.”

By John Kennedy (

Published: 29 October, 2020