The race to provide 5G for the Internet of the Things is hotting up as Arqiva is set to test out the technology in London using kit from Samsung.
This will be the first field trial of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology in the UK as an alternative to fibre. The preliminary 5G standard was published last week, and the UK will publish its 5G strategy 'shortly'.
The trial is set to take place in the second half of 2017 in central London and will involve the deployment of an end-to-end 5G FWA network, operating in the 28GHz band. Arqiva owns the national license in the UK for this spectrum, which is also the standard band being used for 5G trials in the USA, Japan and South Korea.
“Arqiva delivers millions of vital connections in the UK every day and we have been watching the development of 5G very closely. Our experience of running critical communications networks places us in a strong position, alongside a number of our operator customers, to take the lead in shaping how this country prepares itself for the introduction of 5G," said Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO Arqiva. “5G will be a crucial pillar of the UK’s economy in the 2020s. It will provide higher speeds: 1Gbps and significantly reduced latency (delay), along with super high reliability for mission critical applications. Mobile video streaming and virtual reality will be key applications with customer usage of c100GB per month being the norm vs c1-5GB per month at present. Over time, smarter network infrastructure and an enhanced ability to support exponential scale for connectivity will open the doors to further applications across a variety of markets such as IoT, industrial applications and the full promise of autonomous vehicles.
“Our existing network of infrastructure assets, including mobile masts and street furniture, will be essential to providing the network over which 5G will be delivered by MNOs across the UK. Our trial with Samsung will demonstrate the enormous potential of 5G FWA as an alternative to fibre for delivering ultra-high speed connectivity to homes and businesses.”
Samsung’s 5G Access Units (the base stations) will use the 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum and beam-forming to provide high-density coverage and ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity to CPEs (or Customer Premise Equipment) installed in nearby locations. These can be self-installed, reducing costs, and can bring a subscriber online in a matter of minutes. This gives 5G FWA considerable advantages over comparable FTTH or FTTB (Fibre-to-the-Home/Building) deployments in terms of service rollout times and the costs to both the service provider and the subscriber.
The CPEs will be based at locations in London including Arqiva’s offices at Percy Street, London W1 and will provide ultra-high speed connectivity to multiple devices. The locations will be selected because of the wide range of customer groupings in business and residential premises.
“With advanced news of 5G trials already being made in the US and Korean markets, we are really excited to be partnering with Arqiva to jointly demonstrate just how important the UK and Europe is to the 5G revolution," said Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe.
"The Government wants the UK to be a world leader in 5G and we're already laying the foundations for a successful launch. We are investing £1bn to boost the UK’s digital infrastructure and support 5G trials, and will shortly be publishing our 5G strategy," said the governent's Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley MP. "But industry will continue to play the leading role, and investments like Arqiva's will help make sure the UK gets the benefits of new 5G networks early on, including faster, more reliable connections, new services like connected cars and the Internet of Things."
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