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How 5G is powering the innovation economy

Dec 20, 2021

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On December 9th, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. partnered with The Economist to host a virtual event to discuss how 5G technologies will provide a once-in-a-hundred-year’s jolt to the economy – boosting productivity and driving long-term economic growth. The event also highlighted the critical role of robust intellectual property protection as the foundation for the innovations and R&D behind 5G.

The event featured an incredible lineup of speakers, including GSMA Director General Mats Granryd, Rakuten/Symphony CEO Tareq Amin, ETSI Director General Jorge Luis Jorge Romero, Qualcomm VP of Engineering John Smee, Qualcomm Chief Economist Dr. Kirti Gupta, March Capital Co-Founder and Managing Partner Jamie Montgomery, Cloudfare Co-Founder and CEO Michelle Zatlyn, Bowdoin economics professor and renowned invention historian Zorina Khan, and former USPTO Director David Kappos.

As we know, communications technology has been essential to keeping people and businesses connected during the Covid-19 pandemic. This crucial connectivity is helping people to survive, adapt, and thrive. It is also enabling businesses to grow. A recent Accenture study examined the multiplier effect of 5G across industries, and found that in the United States, 5G will add around $1.5 trillion of GDP by 2025. It will also create 16 million American jobs. During the Economist event, Dr. Gupta noted that 5G will have an “economic multiplier effect” across key industries including manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, smart cities, and more. Even though these technologies are still just being rolled out, Dr. Gupta says even the early data is compelling.

The economic impact of 5G is also being felt around the world. According to GSMAIntelligence report in 2020, mobile technologies and services have already added $4.4 trillion of economic value to the global economy, and the mobile ecosystem employs (directly and indirectly) 25 million people. The value created by the mobile industry will continue to expand as mobile technology expands into every industry. According to IHS Markit, by 2035 that impact will reach $13.1 trillion of global sales activity. We have not seen anything like this since the introduction and expansion of electricity. As Director Kappos noted, the effects of 5G will be “gigantic.”

To fully realize the benefits of 5G for everyone, governments and industry need to work together in supporting the expansion of digital ecosystems. As you’ll hear from the panelists, it is also important to preserve the foundational incentives to invest in high-risk, long-term R&D, and take a balanced approach to policy. The decades-old formula for innovation – investment, patenting, licensing – is simple but it powers a vast, diverse, and complex body of technical innovations that are literally changing the world. It is critical that we get it right.

Be sure to check out the event highlight reel and learn more about 5G economic growth and IP with Dr. Kirti Gupta.

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Christie Thoene

Vice President, Communications, Qualcomm