BT Group's outgoing chief executive on Thursday sounded a bullish note about the potential for 5G to create future revenues for the British telecommunications firm.
The U.K.'s biggest telecom firm reported an increase in its first-half earnings Thursday and upgraded its guidance for the full year. It posted profit before tax of £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) for the six months to end September 30, up 2 percent year-on-year as growth picked up in consumer business.
"I think the business case for 5G initially is going to be about delivering more efficient networks," BT CEO Gavin Patterson told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday.
"Consumption of data is increasing about 30 to 40 percent a year and to keep up with that and ensure it doesn't go all into pricing that it's delivered in more and more better valued services for customers, 5G is a much more efficient way of delivering data."
5G — the next generation of mobile networks — is a technology that many in the telecom and tech industries are racing to develop. Auctions where telecom companies bid 5G radio frequencies have helped countries raise billions from firms seeking to gain a footing in the space. Italy recently raised a record $7.6 billion through a spectrum auction.
"In two of three years' time, we'll begin to see I think new revenue streams — particularly in the B2B (business-to-business) space — being built off the programmable nature of the network," Patterson told CNBC.
He noted that BT had launched "the first 5G alpha trial in the U.K." in London's Canary Wharf site this quarter, and that a full roll-out would happen next year. He said that would make Britain "one of the first countries around the world to be offering 5G services."