Vodafone wants U.K. government to propel 5G private networks

In the U.K., manufacturing is particularly important outside of London and the Southeast of England. (Vodafone)

The U.K. government is pursuing an initiative to “level up” parts of Britain that are less prosperous than the London area. Vodafone UK commissioned a report that finds 5G private networks are a way to level up manufacturing operations in rural parts of the U.K. And Vodafone makes several recommendations to the U.K. government to tap private wireless networks for manufacturing.

The report entitled “Powering Up Manufacturing, Leveling Up Britain” was prepared by WPI Strategy. It says that manufacturing is particularly important outside of London and the Southeast of England: it is responsible for over 17% of Wales’s total national output, for example, compared to less than 2% of London’s. Although the U.K. is no longer the world’s leading manufacturing economy, it is still the ninth biggest manufacturer in the world. It leads the world in some specialist areas including pharmaceuticals and aerospace.

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WPI Strategy, along with Vodafone, make the following recommendations to the U.K. government to tap 5G mobile private networks for manufacturing, including:

  • The government should set a specific target to use 5G technology in manufacturing over the next decade.
  • The government should work with mobile operators and offer incentives for manufacturing businesses to invest in 5G private networks. It cites the South Korean Government, which has offered billions in tax breaks to incentivize the uptake of 5G.
  • Mobile private networks should be covered by future legislation on supply chain and telecom cybersecurity.
  • The government should extend its Industrial 5G Testbeds and Trials Program by another five years from 2022 to 2027 and increase its funding for manufacturing trials to at least £60 million. It should also expand the scope of the program to including 5G mobile private networks in industrial sectors.
  • The government should introduce regional 5G test and innovation centers, starting in those regions that stand to gain most from the take-up of 5G in manufacturing.