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O2 believes the economic benefits of 5G technology could be greater than those offered by fibre broadband.

According to the company, national 5G infrastructure will boost the economy by £7 billion a year by 2026 - just six years after the rollout commences.

O2 pointed out that more than four in every five adults in Britain now own a smartphone, while nearly three-quarters use their mobile to go online while on the move.

This, it said, means the UK is a nation and economy "increasingly reliant on mobile connectivity".

O2 believes the combined value of 4G and 5G connectivity will boost the economy by £18.5 billion in less than ten years, whereas the figure for broadband overall is just £17.5 billion.

Mark Evans, Chief Executive of O2, commented: "Mobile is the invisible infrastructure that can drive the economy of post-Brexit Britain. 

"The future of 5G promises a much quicker return on investment than fibre broadband, and a range of unprecedented benefits: from telecare health applications to smarter cities to more seamless public services."

Mr Evans went on to stress that O2 is "obsessive" about delivering the best possible customer experience and meeting people's needs.

However, he said that if individuals, businesses and communities are to use mobile connectivity to its full potential, the right conditions to ensure a competitive and fair mobile marketplace need to be created.

This, he stated, means a sophisticated spectrum auction that encourages the quickest and fairest deployment of mobile spectrum is needed, along with a regulatory environment that "delivers a level playing field for businesses and supports a competitive market for customers".

The government has already committed to spending £740 million on rolling out fibre broadband connections and 5G technology in its recently-published industrial strategy.

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