Three UK universities to develop £16m 5G test network

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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, augmented reality, remote surgery, smart agriculture, and smart homes and cities.

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock said: “We want to be at the head of the field in 5G. This funding will support the pioneering research needed to ensure we can harness the potential of this technology to spark innovation, create new jobs and boost the economy.”

“We know 5G has the potential to bring more reliable, ultrafast mobile connectivity, with quicker reaction times and larger data capabilities, and I’m thrilled to announce King’s College London and the universities of Surrey and Bristol have agreed to collaborate on this project.”

This test network will trial and demonstrate the next generation of mobile technology and is the first part of a four-year programme of investment and collaboration in the Government’s new 5G Testbeds and Trials programme.

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.

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