The long-awaited launch of the UK5G innovation network this week means that it won’t be long to see how the cards the government dealt for 5G play out. The network “lies at the heart of the government’s strategy for 5G” stated Ian Smith, Director of Testbeds and Trials, DCMS, at the launch event in London’s BT tower on Monday.
Indeed the UK’s race towards 5G innovation has accelerated in recent months. A flurry of activity as 3GPP completed work on the first version of Release 15 of the 5G New Radio (NR) specification in late December, while already in March, Ofcom kicked off its 5G spectrum auction to six bidders while the government has awarded £25 million to six 5G projects aimed at accelerating the rollout of the cellular network technology.
The UK5G innovation network was also buzzing with activity in these recent few months. It announced its delivery consortium in December, (TM Forum, Cambridge Wireless, Knowledge Transfer Network), it called for applicants to its advisory board in late January and announced its picks at the launch on Monday. “The board is a balance of members from both the supply side (providers of technology, infrastructure, operators, services) and the demand side (customers and potential customers of 5G), drawn from the 5G ecosystem,” the network stated in a press release.
Rosalind Singleton, Chair of UK5G’s Advisory Board added, “UK5G is a wonderful opportunity for industry and our research base to work hand in hand with government to help promote the development of 5G, through test bed and trials funding, policy-making and network support.”
UK5G exists essentially to nurture innovation, share knowledge, identify challenges, enable collaboration and support investment. The network states that the wider ecosystem is especially important and something it is particularly keen to support; networks of innovation, entrepreneurs, small companies medium companies, and within general society, all of who have telecoms and connectivity needs, and need to be understood and served.