Projects backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are widening their international scope, having become showcases for international investors and collaborators. The main 5G export opportunities started around collaborative research, but have quickly moved into areas such as design and other professional services. Sometimes with spectrum, companies such as Real Wireless, that have been active in advising various governments around the world on spectrum policy, are helping with some of the radio design.
The UK has had a longstanding commitment towards competitive networks and competitive services. So sometimes that might be in the design of new competitive services, let’s say in video or messaging. We also have a strong advertising industry in the UK and as more and more video is carried on 5G, we would expect the advertising industry to follow those networks that are 5G ready in the advertising area.
As one of the founders of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey 10 years ago, I’m delighted at the international operator interest. When we started we said we wanted all the UK operators involved, but we also wanted some key international players from the supply chain and other countries to play a part. So from the early years we’ve had interest from Taiwan, we’ve had interest from other Asian countries. It’s an international effort even though it’s based in Guildford, Surrey.
Similarly, we’ve seen international interest coming into places such as the University of Bristol and King’s College London, not just from international vendors but also from some other countries that have witnessed the trials and demonstrators.
One of the most obvious of these trials is at Millbrook, where we’re seeing connected cars and connected vehicles [as part of the UK’s first independent 5G testbed called the AutoAir project]. There’s a lot of interest in thinking about: how do you do high-speed video to and from a car? The collaboration doesn’t lift straight from here and shift elsewhere. Sometimes it requires people to look at it, understand it, and then maybe adapt it for their countries.
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This article was first published by CWJ Press as part of a series of UK5G Magazine specials comissioned by DCMS. You can access the digital version here.