5G developments gather pace in UK

Developments in 5G technology are gathering pace in the UK after a global forum held in London this week saw the launch of a new programme to promote innovation to encourage growth in this field.

Ed Vaizey, the UK's digital economy minister, announced 'The Future Technologies Network', which will be hosted by techUK, the country's technology trade association. The programme was unveiled at the event called '5G Huddle, Towards a Global 5G Vision', which was organised to discuss key issues around the development of 5G technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), spectrum management, data security, privacy, regulation and competition, and new business operating models.

New services, from medical applications to smart energy, smart buildings, robots, autonomous driving vehicles and drones, were covered by experts from government, industry and academia from Europe, North America and Asia

At the event, Vaizey commented that "the private sector is vital, you hold the answers." He also announced £60,000 (€76,800/$97,900) of funds provided by wireless companies to aid studies in this area to help the work of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.

MP and former Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said he wants the UK to be one of the world leaders in 5G. "Privacy fears must be addressed head-on to ensure development is not stifled," he added.

The UK government additionally announced it is set to release 500 MHz of spectrum between 400 MHz and 5 GHz from public use by 2020, with the next major release coming from the armed forces of 2.3 GHz and 2.4 GHz.

Other 5G initiatives in the radio sector include joint Anglo-German research between the Universities of Surrey, Kings College London and the University of Dresden into 5G as well as work on the crossover between 5G and IoT.

Earlier this week Vodafone also announced a partnership with the Dresden University of Technology to research and develop 5G technology. Vodafone will work with the university to bring together academics, developers and technology companies to explore the capabilities of 5G and establish technical guidelines for its development. To support research activities, the Dresden University of Technology has opened its first 5G lab where researchers can test and evaluate a wide range of 5G technologies.

Indeed, 5G initiatives are gathering pace globally: last month Huawei revealed it had established a mobile innovation centre in Seoul as part of a partnership with LG Uplus that will focus on developing new 5G equipment, LTE Advanced carrier aggregation technology, and small cells.

Huawei was voted onto the board of the 5G Infrastructure Association in July, which is the private element in the European Commission's (EC) 5G Public Private Partnership (5GPPP). In June, the EC agreed to a landmark 5G cooperation deal with South Korea to define global standards for the next generation technology and ensure radio frequency harmonisation.

For more:
- see this press release
- see this Vodafone release

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EC teams with South Korea to harmonise 5G development
Huawei predicts first 5G networks will go live in 2020
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