UK looks to take a lead in the 5G rollout

When it comes to Brexit, the UK may be struggling to make an impression in Europe, but in one area at least, the government is looking to make sure it’s ahead of the game – and that’s 5G.

The government has announced a competition whereby businesses can apply to get a slice of £25 million worth of funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is looking to invest in projects that support the development of 5G in the UK.

The £25 million is part of the UK’s £740 million National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). These efforts are all part of a billion-pound package of announcements made to boost the UK’s digital infrastructure running under the name of the Future Connectivity Challenge Group.

The 5G Testbeds and Trials programme has been initiated to demonstrate how 5G can be used to meet some of the social and healthcare challenges faced by the UK. The programme calls on contributions from mobile providers and potential end users, working together to design possible business models in pre-commercial test environments.

Setting the pace

The race is on to establish a European lead in 5G services. Providers such as Deutsche Telekom and Telia have already announced trials using the technology and Europe is likely to prove a competitive testbed for 5G.

The UK is ready to be a pace-setter in this process, said Minister for Digital Matt Hancock: “We are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G. In these very early stages we want all ideas, from all parts of the country, that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.”

The competition opens the door to applications on October 23, with the deadline for registration set at December 6.

All parties interested in running projects within the programme will have to be UK registered organisations, carrying out projects in the UK, and they must be working in collaboration with others.