UK's 5G rollout to create 5,000 jobs

New jobs created by Telefonica, Liberty Group, and Octopus Energy are set to tackle the UK's rising unemployment rate

The parent companies of O2 and Virgin Media have announced plans to create 5,000 new jobs through the rollout of 5G connectivity across the UK.

The pledge, which includes 1,000 apprenticeships, comes as the UK unemployment rate sits at 4.1%, out of which the most impacted group are those aged between 16 and 24. However, last week the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said that the rate could rise to 13.2% by next year.

It also comes five months after O2’s Telefonica and Virgin Media’ Liberty Group announced their UK-based merger in order to create a formidable opposition to BT’s dominance in the sector.

The new partnership also pledges that, by 2021, it would invest £10 billion in the rollout of 5G to over 100 towns and cities across the country.

In a joint announcement, the chief executives of Liberty Group and Telefonica, Mike Fries and Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, said that they aim to “create a national connectivity champion for the UK which can support the country in its digital-led recovery, by investing in the infrastructure the country needs and promoting jobs and apprenticeships to improve the digital skills base”.

“We want to create the leading fixed and mobile competitor in the market, supporting consumers, businesses and society, and this announcement demonstrates our confidence in the long-term potential of the UK’s digital economy,” they added.

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More good news was shared by Octopus Energy. The electricity and gas startup also pledged to create 1,000 new technology jobs in London, Brighton, Warwick, and Leicester, as well as a new tech hub in Manchester.

The plans are part of the company’s aim to make the UK the “Silicon Valley of energy” and elevate Octopus to the title of one of the country’s fastest-growing companies in the UK.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that “more green jobs is not only good news for British job seekers - it’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy”, while prime minister Boris Johnson said the jobs would “provide exciting opportunities across the country for those who want to be at the cutting edge of the global green revolution”.

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