Testbeds & trials

5G New Thinking

  • Started on 1 Mar 2020
  • Completed on 1 Apr 2022

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  • Government funding: £5,000,000
  • Project Finished: 1st April 2022

The 5G New Thinking project will look at the provision of mobile/wireless connectivity primarily using the shared spectrum and local spectrum licencing options announced by Ofcom in July 2019. Working closely with communities, the project will develop a community toolkit to allow the creation of networks that provide rural connectivity for cooperatives of consumers, local enterprise, councils and other stakeholders.

The project will work to create facilities and tools for spectrum sharing and monitoring, neutral hosting, partnerships and B2B engagement models with operators. In its first stage the project will create models, strategies and use case demonstrators on the Orkney Islands network, and engage forward with community and council partners in Borderlands, Scotland, Northern Ireland and areas of rural England to help develop and ultimately roll-out 5G connectivity.

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Project Overview

All around the world, city planners, building owner / occupiers, venues, rural communities and others talk about building radio equipment that can provide high quality 5G mobile coverage to citizens, attendees, occupiers, etc. 

But typically, they are not mobile operators, They may not understand legislative and regulatory regimes in which they need to operate, they may not have international roaming deals with the rest of the world, and they may not even have customer care and billing systems or the 1000 other bits and pieces that a mobile operation needs in order to serve its customers with valuable products and services. 
This is why Neutral hosting is an attractive concept. It can, in theory, enable high quality, cost competitive coverage for all, whilst keeping all that other stuff in the hands of mobile operators who have built highly optimised value propositions capable of serving the needs of the population. 
So whilst Neutral host networks sound like a walk in the park, they are actually more difficult than you might think. Its not just about sticking some radios up on the top of a hill or inside a building.  
Pop in and hear about what it takes from the perspective of a Mobile operator and potential Neutral Host providers, to deploy coverage in this manner. 

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Organisations participating in this project