This report reveals that, with the fifth generation of mobile technologies (5G), the productivity benefits of mobile telecommunications will be worth $65 billion to the Australian economy by 2023 – equivalent to 3.1% GDP.

The mobile sector is already a significant contributor to the Australian economy, supporting nearly $23 billion of Australia’s GDP. With the 5G mobile network set to launch this year, the report forecasts that the broader economic benefits of mobiles will contribute more than the entire contribution of the agricultural industry – equivalent to $2,500 value added for every Australian.

5G will create a gradual transition to a more networked and connected society, it will shift the way Australians interact with the world and provide greater productivity benefits by streamlining businesses and transforming services to drive Australia’s economy forward.

Mobile devices enable a range of business benefits, from efficiency and the ability to work on-the-go to creating completely new products and markets. 5G, in particular, is likely to enable new opportunities for business. Greater reliability and capacity, coupled with lower latency, means that 5G networks will be the critical infrastructure supporting a range of emerging technologies, including broader rollouts of the internet of things, autonomous vehicles and augmented/virtual reality. But businesses do not have to be on the frontier of technology to benefit. Mobile payments and video conferencing are two examples of low-cost mobile solutions that can support business growth and efficiency and are already provided by existing 4G networks.

Overall, most see mobiles as a net benefit, helping to connect us with others. Two-thirds of Australians say that their mobile is helpful, and 48% say that it provides freedom. Young Australians, however, are more concerned about their phone use. Over three-quarters of 14 to 17 year olds think they use their mobile too much. And while 61% of 18 to 24 year olds say they are trying to limit their phone use, only 24% are doing so successfully (Deloitte, 2018a). Mobiles help us to feel safe. Just over 80% of survey respondents say that their mobile gives them peace of mind, knowing that they are accessible in case of an emergency. However, many Australians are also concerned about some of the safety risks posed by mobiles – in particular, data security (87%) and distracted driving (82%).

Ultimately, mobiles are still primarily a tool that we use to connect. Around eight in every ten Australians use their phone to connect with friends and family at least once a week. Yet our most frequent means of communication is still in person. Just under half of Australians talk to friends and family face to face at least once a day. Ultimately, we can each decide how we interact, with our phones and with each other.

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