UK Eyes 5G Infrastructure
March 08, 2017
has released its latest report, 5G: New Services, New Customers, New
Challenges, which highlights why 5G matters, the services and use cases
which 5G is designed to address, as well as the obstacles to address if
the UK is to be a 5G leader.
Successive generations of mobile technology have helped to fundamentally
change consumer and business behaviour, increasing the benefits derived
from being online and, therefore, driving up the demand for data. As a
result we now live in a mobile-first world.
5G, the next upgrade in mobile technology, won’t only be faster than 4G,
it is expected to also be more reliable, use less energy, be responsive
enough to support self-driving cars, and to enable thousands of sensors
to connect at the same location. In short, it’s less about faster
smartphones and more about a smarter future where almost everyone and
everything is connectable.
5G has the potential to be truly transformative – for consumers and for
business. The UK Government has set out a bold ambition to be a 5G
leader, and has made a good start but the momentum must be maintained.
The report details three areas requiring attention:
1) Coverage: There must be greater focus on extending mobile coverage.
5G on its own won’t improve mobile coverage. Today’s patchy coverage of
major road and rail corridors must be addressed as a priority.
2) Collaboration: Ensuring 5G is quickly, and widely, available across
the UK will require more collaboration between operators - unfettered
competition would reduce the net benefits to UK plc. There also must be
greater co-operation and consistency of approach between Central and
Local Government. Currently, the process of deploying transmitters in
city centres is protracted and fragmented.
3) Spectrum: Spectrum is the lifeblood of all mobile technologies. Ofcom
now needs to build on its sterling work in Europe identifying suitable
spectrum, and move quickly to get spectrum into the hands of industry,
where the current means of award and licensing may no longer be ideal.
But for 5G to deliver on its promises will require considerable
investment – a challenge in the current climate.
Highlighting the importance of 5G leadership Julian David, CEO of
“The UK was slow to get 4G spectrum into the hands of industry, and the
planning and approvals process further delayed the UK reaping the
benefits of 4G. I am delighted that the UK Government has no intention
of repeating that mistake with 5G. The UK has a real opportunity to
become a 5G leader and Europe’s showcase for the applications and
services enabled by 5G.
strongly supports the UK Government’s focus on 5G, and the considerable
effort Ofcom has put into identifying suitable spectrum which could be
made available quickly, but to become a 5G leader, the UK needs to do
even more. Specifically, we need to see a much more coordinated approach
to deploying – and sharing – infrastructure, and a focus on connectivity
in major transport corridors. I am delighted to say that techUK already
has initiatives underway, bringing together industry and public sector,
to assist in policy development in these key areas.”
Tony Lavender, CEO, Plum Consulting London LLP comments: “5G is an
excellent opportunity for the UK to show its strength in research,
development and industrialisation. Also to show how Government can work
with industry and others to drive forward mobile technology and the
broader solutions that will make more advanced mobile standards a
“There are still many non-technology focused questions to address in
addition to the technological innovation that 5G needs. Service
ecosystem development for horizontal and industry vertical applications
and the imperative of creating conditions for viable business cases to
flourish are two key areas to address hand in hand with technology
“A unique cooperation across both public and private sectors will be
required to achieve these ambitious goals.”