Govt to invest £40m in 5G testbed and trial projects to boost connectivity

5GImage: Govt to invest £40m in 5G testbed and trial projects to boost mobile connectivity. Photo: Courtesy of mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

The government will invest £40m in 5G testbed and trial projects as part of plans to improve mobile connectivity across the UK.

While the previous investment in the 5G testbeds and trials programme was intended for the healthcare, tourism, transport and broadcasting sectors, the latest round of investment is intended for the logistics and manufacturing sectors.

The projects will explore ways to help the logistics and manufacturing sectors increase their productivity and output, boosting the economy.

The trials are expected to cover manufacturing processes, as well as road, air and sea-based freight logistics.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright announced the funding at the 5G World Conference as part of London Tech Week.

The latest investment will be made through the £200m project to test 5G technology.

Wright said: “As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re making sure that Britain has a telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future.

“5G is about more than mobile phone consumers having a fast and reliable connection anywhere in the country. It’s a vital piece of technology that can be used to improve the productivity and growth of our industrial sectors.

“That’s why we’re excited to develop new trials in areas such as manufacturing and logistics that can really benefit from 5G.”

The government has also said that it will launch a consultation on proposals to simplify planning processes in England to support the roll-out of 4G and aid the faster introduction of 5G.

UK mobile network operators’ trade association Mobile UK director Hamish MacLeod said: “Getting the planning system right for future 5G and today’s 4G networks is critical to ensure the UK continues to lead the world in digital connectivity.

“It is right that the Government has announced it is to look at simplifying planning processes and we stand ready to work in partnership to ensure this can happen as quickly as possible to aid the continued rollout of mobile networks.”

Making new spectrum available to increase capacity for mobile connectivity is a key part of the government’s long-term strategy for meeting the digital connectivity targets.

The Ministry of Defence, in partnership with DCMS, has committed to making 168MHz of new spectrum available for fixed and mobile networks.

A public competition is expected to be launched later in 2019 for bids for the next testbed and trials in 5G.

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