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5G news: BT and EE plan commercial launch in 2019

5G is the latest networking technology for connected devices, promising speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, and 10 times faster than home broadband.

It’s not all about speed, though: a more ubiquitous and responsive (between 1ms and 10ms, compared to 4G’s 40-60ms) network are also planned, enabling connected devices like autonomous vehicles, drones and even artificial limbs.

That network will be enabled by new infrastructure, which will need to be installed across the country over the next few years. This technology will operate at a higher frequency than existing networks, enabling the speed and bandwidth of 5G but limiting its range – requiring many more base stations to cover the same area as a single 3G or 4G mast.

5G phones won’t be launched until next year, and the infrastructure isn’t expected to be in place before 2020 at the earliest, although there are plenty of trials taking place, as well as a spectrum bidding war.

Check back here frequently for all the latest 5G news.

15/5/18 – BT CEO Gavin Patterson plans to get the drop on rivals by launching 5G in 2019, a year ahead of the government’s commercial rollout plans. He told analysts in an earnings presentation, “We will look to have a commercial 5G product launched in the next 18 months.”

BT’s owner EE had an early start in 4G, but UK competitors like Vodafone are unlikely to want a repeat of that situation in 5G; so we may see a revision to their plans, too.

14/5/18 – UK cities are competing to win a £100 million infrastructure investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of its 5G Testbed and Trials Programme.

Recently discussed at the 5G Summit in Glasgow (see below), the fund will be used to install infrastructure to support 5G trials. Applications close on the 5th of June, with a winner chosen by the end of July.

14/5/18 – The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre has announced its first seven SME technology partners, chosen through their involvement in its testbed programme. The University says that the move aims to widen the 5G opportunities available to smaller enterprises.

The companies are Blu Wireless, CBNL, Cardinality, Eptomical, Estatom, Lime Microsystems and Paramus.

9/5/18 – As part of a consortium investigating autonomous vehicles in Leeds, the city will begin testing self-driving pods in the South Bank area later this year. Consortium member Aql, which holds 5G test licences in the UK, will build the required communications infrastructure. Other members include Gulf Oil, the University of Leeds and Leeds and Bradford city councils.

The pods will be based on the Westfield POD, which Heathrow Airport has used since 2011.

8/5/18 – While England was languishing in sunny Bank Holiday weather, 5G progress continued on the continent. Deutsche Telekom has turned on 5G mobile data in Berlin, deploying six antennae in the city centre using the New Radio (NR) standard. An additional 70 cells are planned to be added over the summer.

In France, Nokia has been testing 5G calls on the 3.5GHz frequency band with telco SFR. The trial was also accomplished using the NR standard, with Nokia technology like the AirScale radio platform.

3/5/18 – The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has announced that it will hold its 5G Summit in Glasgow on the 14th of May, where delegates will discuss the potential and challenges of the technology. Speakers will focus on the latest trials, standards and deployments, as well as how 5G can be used in verticals like farming and health.

Cisco, Nokia, Vodafone, Qualcomm, University of Strathclyde, Surrey 5GIC (5G Innovation Centre), the DCMS and Ofcom are among the attending speakers.

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