The UK government will invest a further £40 million in 5G testbeds and trials as part of the overall £200 million programme.
In addition to the new funding, the Government has confirmed that it will consult on proposals to simplify planning processes in England to both support the further roll-out of 4G and aid the faster introduction of 5G.
So far government-funded 5G testbeds and trials have focused on healthcare, tourism, transport and broadcasting. The next tranche will be around logistics and manufacturing, Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright, said.
Projects will explore how 5G can help these sectors increase their productivity and output, towards boosting the UK economy.
The trials will cover different manufacturing processes and cut across road, air and sea-based freight logistics. Bids for these projects will open later this year.
Wright commented, “As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re making sure that Britain has a telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future.
“5G is about more than mobile phone consumers having a fast and reliable connection anywhere in the country. It’s a vital piece of technology that can be used to improve the productivity and growth of our industrial sectors. That’s why we’re excited to develop new trials in areas such as manufacturing and logistics that can really benefit from 5G.”
As part of its plans to clear obstacles and smooth the way for 5G’s roll-out, the Government says it will consult on the barriers to deployment and creating the right conditions for investment to deliver better network coverage.
A key part of this, it says, is also making new spectrum available to increase capacity for mobile connectivity. The Ministry of Defence, in partnership with DCMS, has committed to making 168MHz of new spectrum available to facilitate the deployment of fixed and mobile networks.
Hamish MacLeod, Director at trade body Mobile UK, commented, “Getting the planning system right for future 5G and today’s 4G networks is critical to ensure the UK continues to lead the world in digital connectivity.
"It is right that the Government has announced it is to look at simplifying planning processes and we stand ready to work in partnership to ensure this can happen as quickly as possible to aid the continued rollout of mobile networks.”