UK Universities to test cutting-edge 5G technology

A world-class 5G technology test network will aim to put Britain at the forefront of the next wave of mobile technology - potentially adding up to £173 billion to the economy by 2030.

Experts from leading 5G research institutions at King’s College London and the Universities of Surrey and Bristol, will be awarded £16m to develop the cutting-edge 5G test network which will see academic expertise and commercial leadership brought together to trial the technology and make sure people and businesses can enjoy the benefits sooner.

5G is expected to deliver reliable ultrafast mobile connectivity with the ability to process huge amounts of data and support complex applications predicted for tomorrow’s mobile phones - for example, sending virtual reality 3D TV clips to mobile devices.

It could also be used in new technologies that have the potential to revolutionise society such as autonomous vehicles - for example, to make sure they can be used safely on our roads - or in advanced manufacturing and robotics, augmented reality, remote surgery, smart agriculture and in smart homes and cities.

The universities will work together to create three small-scale mobile networks which together will form the test network. Each network will have a number of the elements expected in a commercial 5G network - including mobile signal receivers and transmitters and the technology to handle 5G signals - to support trials of its many potential uses.

The project will build on existing research and help to make the case for timely deployment of 5G in the UK. It will help make sure the country is ready to capitalise on a potentially huge global market for 5G products and services and create opportunities for British business to grow at home and abroad. It will also mark the first steps towards developing a new national 5G Innovation Network.

This investment is also aiming to deliver a 5G end-to-end trial in early 2018. This could be, for example, a trial in which a signal is sent from a mobile device, such as a phone or in a car, to a data centre and back again. This will test the capability of 5G to make an application or service work in a real-world environment.