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UK unlikely to be first with 5G networks despite £35m research centre

11 Oct 2012
Mobile spectrum antenna

The UK is unlikely to be the first country to roll out 5G networks in the future, despite plans to launch a £35m research centre into the technology were announced earlier this week.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli at the university of Surrey, who is spearheading the project in conjunction with firms including Samsung and Fujitsu, told V3 the UK would lead the way on how the technology works, but not deployments.

"Deployment and service offering timescale depends on many non-technical factors such as business model, market," he said.

"All these factors are important in service provisioning time plan of 5G."

Nevertheless, Tafazolli underlined the rapid work being done on this new area of technology, explaining that those involved are already talking with the communications regulator about their work.

"We are also in close discussions with Ofcom which would help in determining how much radio spectrum is needed and which frequency bands should be made available for 5G," he said.

He also revealed that 5G trials could begin in the UK as soon as mid-2013, although any real rollouts are unlikely to occur until at least 2020.

It could be worth the wait, though, as target 5G speeds are as high as 10Gbit/s per cell.

Even if the UK isn't the first to launch 5G the early work the nation is doing to prepare for its rival in the mid to long-term future marks a refreshing change from the numerous delays that have hindered 4G deployments.


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Carly Page

Carly Page joined The INQUIRER as News Editor in April 2012. Before becoming a full-time geek, Carly studied Journalism at the University of Lincoln, and dabbled in the music journalism industry. Carly's main coverage areas include mobile devices, mobile software, telecoms, mobile operators, social networks and anything Breaking Bad related.

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