After arriving as a relative latecomer to the 4G LTE party, in global terms, the government is aiming put the UK ahead of the pack for future 5G development.
The coalition has teamed up with mobile giants Samsung, Telefonica (which owns O2 in the UK) and Chinese manufacturer Huawei, among others, to set up a new research centre at the University of Surrey.
The £35m project, £11.6m of which will be funded by the taxpayer, will make the UK "the playground for advanced mobile technologies," according to professor Rahim Tafazolli, who'll lead the research.
Article continues below
Tafazolli said that the next generation tech, whatever that may turn out to be, will probably arrive in around ten years time, and speculated that it may see speeds of 10Gbps come to mobile handsets and tablets.
Push towards standardisation
Of the project, he told Gigaom: "We're bringing all the major stakeholders together and we are going to decide on the advanced technologies and test them end-to-end.
"Once we are happy with the set of technologies that we have developed, in terms of performance, then we will push that particular technology towards standardisation."
A press release from HM Treasury, which announced the plans as part of $1 billon of investment into university and private research, said the so-called 5G Centre will bring together global industry leaders and "provide real-time experimental facilities to underpin the development of new mobile broadband internet products and services."
4G LTE? More like 4G LATE
While this is great news for the UK communications industry, it does seem a little odd to be talking about pushing towards 5G when the nation is yet to officially possess a fully-functioning 4G LTE network.
The Everything Everywhere 4G network will finally go live on this month in major cities, while the rest of the networks will scrap for the remaining 4G-ready spectrum in the Ofcom-led auction early next year.
Although UK smartphone users will be happy to finally receive next generation internet speeds as 2013 approaches, it still comes long after the infrastructure was established in North America and much of Europe and Asia.
It seems the government is keen to rectify this ill, so perhaps when fifth generation mobile speeds do arrive, the Brits will be first on the scene?