Around half of SMEs here believe 5G capability will be widely available by the end of next year with two thirds believing an investment in the technology will play an important role in the economic recovery from the pandemic.

200 SMEs were interviewed by Amarach Research on behalf of Huawei Ireland for the report, which calculated that the hit to GDP from a failure to invest in 5G could be in excess of €12 billion by 2030.

The figure is based on OECD long term projections on economic growth for Ireland over the next decade.

The report found that there was significant enthusiasm amongst SMEs around the adoption of 5G.

Over half said they were willing to invest in the technology to improve remote working for staff.

Three in five said they believed the speeds and capabilities provided by 5G were extremely important for business growth.

The country's three main mobile operators now have 5G capability with Three Ireland the last to switch it on last month.

There has been some controversy around 5G here and overseas in recent months, with conspiracy theorists attempting to link it to health scares and Covid-19.

There is also considerable international controversy around the use of Huawei's technology in 5G networks. The US has blacklisted the company amid a trade war between Washington and Beijing with the Trump administration branding Huawei a 'security threat.'

The UK confirmed in recent months that Huawei technology would be removed from Britain's 5G phone network by 2027.

Here, telecoms company Eir said it was 'very happy' to use Huawei equipment for its new 5G network in the Republic, despite an appeal from the White House to the Government not to allow the Chinese telecoms company to provide any part of Ireland's 5G infrastructure.

The company denies allegations that its equipment could be used by the Chinese government for spying purposes and claims it's being used as a pawn in the trade war between the US and China.

The Irish government - like other European governments - has not ruled either for or against the exclusion of Huawei from 5G networks.

European Commission guidelines published earlier this year gave individual member states the right to restrict Huawei and other telecoms equipment providers from core part of their networks.