5G industry news

5G at CWIC 2019

  • 5 minute read
  • Published by Lucy Woods on 30 Jul 2019
  • Last modified 19 Aug 2019
In June, Cambridge Wireless (CW) welcomed delegates to the Wellcome Genome Campus to hear from industry experts steered by the overarching theme; ‘Digitising Industry’.

So what exactly does Digitising Industry mean? The talks that followed encompassed  wide-ranging subject areas including mobilisation, connectivity and it was great to see 5G on the agenda which many of the speakers delved into. 


Magna International was the headline sponsor and their Vice President Ian Simmons spoke about mobility technology challenges in the automotive industry. Its future, he said, will be dedicated on mobility but also robust infrastructure and integration with new technologies.  “Big changes are coming”.

Magna CWIC slide

Solo occupancy, mandated parking and single-use driving will change significantly but behavioural change with bring challenge too. 

Ian commented “Industry 4.0 has the ability to provide the biggest dose of disruption to Magna’s industry.” 

You can view Ian’s slides here.

Ben Timmons, Senior Director for Business Development at Qualcomm technologies announced “5G is here!” 

Qualcomm presentation

#5Gishere campaign has been sweeping our social media feeds. Oh, what a difference a year makes! Were the initial assumptions and predictions for 5G rollout aggressive? Ben didn’t think so. The past few months, has seen the biggest tech generation evolution to-date. 

He talked about the pent up demand for the functionality that 5G will bring in the industry 4.0 space. 5G rollout is happening faster than any other tech transition. Take a look at the phone ecosystem below.

mobile phone ecosystem

Enhanced mobile broadband is the main focus from business, followed by mission-critical services and massive IoT. 5G is supporting substantial functionality in the traditional factory environment. It brings underlying efficiency savings which is of huge value to both clients and customers. 


High density traffic networks is the most discussed prospect concerning mmWave [see slide below which shows simple mapping)

Qualcomm presentation slide

You can view Ben’s slides here.

Mansoor Hanif, CTO of Ofcom discussed spectrum priorities for 2019.  His slide deck included their company strapline throughout: promoting choice - securing standards - preventing harm.

Ofcom presentation slide cwic

Mansoor emphasized the importance of ensuring no-one is left behind. He referenced the 5G rollout in rural areas; “it’s a palpable change when you can see fibre being dug into the ground - it’s fantastic. This is how stability is achieved.”

Digitising industry

Take a look at the slide above. Everyone is digitising and it’s underpinned by connectivity. But what does that connectivity look like? The slide highlights the catch-22 challenge; expectations keep rising, but there simply isn’t enough resource. Companies are therefore investing in converged solutions.

5G provides a compelling framework and prime spectrum has already been allocated to 5G networks (Japan’s Rakuten for example) and Ofcom are launching consultation for increased spectrum 2ghz.  

You can view Mansoor’s slides here.

“500ghz of public spectrum made available one year earlier than planned in their manifesto - well done gov.uk”  was the opening line from Melissa Giordano, Deputy Director, Mobile Infrastructure & Spectrum, DCMS. In brief, she summarised:

  • Shared rural spectrum - talks are still in motion
  • Positive light on the completed initial portfolio of use cases (5G Testbeds and Trials programme
  • £35 million is being invested into manufacturing trials (view funding competition here) 

Some key points written down during the panel session with the above speakers, include:

  • Greater investment into rural coverage is being incentivised by providing a rebate. An auction is an effective way of deploying spectrum in a useful and efficient way by market plays - it’s an established model and unlikely another spectrum model will be adopted 
  • Wifi or 5G? This was a question regarding the somewhat sketchy internal coverage in the Francis Crick Conference Centre, in which delegates were sat. There are a number of reasons why 5G would be preferred, but... grant issues, private buildings caveats, separate lease management, facilities management …..it’s not as simple to sort out. There is at least a path for virtualisation / neutral host network is the answer. 
  • Question we were left to ponder: How to stimulate demand from enterprise whose primary challenge isn’t connectivity? How can they utilise or invest in 5G? 


Nik Willetts, President and CEO of TM Forum spoke about the level of complexity that comes with the open digital ecosystem (slide below). It brings with it both challenges and opportunities. It’s not just about seamless integration, but more so about selecting the right partner to pivot and output quality service. 

TM Forum slide

View Nik’s slides here.


All slides from CWIC 2019 can be found on the Cambridge Wireless (CW) website

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