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Move to 5G telecom networks will unlock US$4.3T in economic value

Move to 5G networks will unlock US$4.3T in value

5G will leverage the power of new technology and drive advances in environmental, human health, financial services, transportation and social issues


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While telecom companies in Canada and around the world wrestle with the costs of upgrading to next generation 5G networks, a new report from KPMG International predicts that the speed and power of 5G will unlock some US$4.3 trillion in economic value across the globe.

The report notes that today's 4G networks are not fast or responsive enough to harness the full power of growing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), smart machines and sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT), limiting the ability of organizations to leverage the true value of these emerging technologies.

"5G will amplify these technologies and allow them to interact in a way that will revolutionize the way we live, work, and connect with our environment," says Alex Holt, Global Leader for KPMG's Communications & Media sector practice. "These won't just be incremental changes. The power and speed of these tools will drive meaningful advances to address environmental, human health, financial services, transportation and important social issues across the globe."

A 5G network will can carry 10,000 times the traffic of today's 4G networks at 20 times the speed with only one millisecond latency. "The emergence of 5G, with its surge in data transfer rates relative to 4G, is analogous to upgrading from a water fountain to a fire hose," adds Holt. "Significantly reduced latency will catapult us beyond current technological limits and enable unprecedented connectivity between people, organizations, and intelligent connected devices."

He notes that while it will be the telecom companies that fund the 5G upgrades, the real benefits will be seen by organizations that can strategically leverage the new ability to hyper-connect all aspects of their businesses, and partner with other technology companies. This includes:

Intelligent communities

  • Municipal assets, systems, and infrastructure will be connected like never before, setting the foundation for next-gen monitoring, advanced data-sharing, and the ability to generate insights that will inform smarter, cleaner, and user-centric city planning.

Connected vehicles

  • Hyper-connectivity will link key vehicle components (e.g. GPS, sensors, onboard computers, etc.) in ways that will enhance passenger safety, travel efficiency, and interactions with other vehicles and "smart" infrastructure. Further down the road, advancements in computer vision and automated technologies will make self-driving cars safer, more accurate, and more reliable. Mainstream use of semi-or-full autonomous driving will create more need for mobile data streaming and communications in vehicles.


  • The advancement of AI and mobile technologies will give individuals greater control and access to healthcare services, while insights generated from real-time biometrics will assist healthcare practitioners in delivering more personalized, proactive, and on-demand care.

Intelligent agriculture

  • The confluence of machine learning, automation, and 5G connectivity will enable the food producers of the future to grow at unprecedented volumes, in more ideal environments and with higher yields.

"While we can see some of the ways 5G will reshape industries such as transportation, many of the benefits remain to be discovered," adds Dan Wilson, National Technology Sector Lead, KPMG in Canada. "Many were caught off guard underestimating how significant previous 3G/4G network deployments would be on the way we consume media content and how broadband speeds would impact certain other sectors.

"It is imperative that Canadian companies and government take a thoughtful and proactive approach to plan for 5G deployments in order to be both a major driver and beneficiary of the resulting mass of new real time data insights that will become available. While there are great, world-leading pockets of research and commercialization occurring in Canada, we are at risk of falling behind countries with greater resources and focus.

"To push forward, we must work together to recognize and harness the scale of impact these 5G supercharged technologies will bring, and how it will expand the limits of what we can do as companies and as a nation. If we don't act fast enough we risk being left out of this revolution. Other nations will leap far ahead of us and impair our economic competitiveness as consumers and businesses bypass Canadian companies to access products and services from around the globe at an unprecedented speed."

Access a full copy of the KPMG 5G Report.


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a professional services firm ( and a Canadian limited liability partnership established under the laws of Ontario, is the Canadian member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"). KPMG member firms around the world have 207,000 professionals, in 153 countries.

The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity, and describes itself as such.



Kevin Dove
Director, Corporate Communications
KPMG in Canada

© 2021 KPMG LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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