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BSG Report Identifies Key Barriers to UK 5G Mobile Deployment

Friday, July 20th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 1,810
5g itu

The Broadband Stakeholder Group think-tank, which advises the UK Government, has today published new research from Analysys Mason that identifies 13 specific barriers (reflecting practical challenges in planning and roll-out) to deployment of future 5G mobile infrastructure. Some 21 recommendations are made.

At the time of writing 5G has yet to finalise all of its official standards and is still a long way from its expected commercial launch in 2020 (i.e. when all of the necessary kit and spectrum should be ready), although a number of UK field trials are already taking place (e.g. Vodafone + EE are testing 3.4-3.5GHz and then there’s Aqiva’s London trial via the 28GHz millimetre wave band etc.). Not to mention the government’s 5G Trials Scheme.

Some of the earliest trials have already recorded data speeds of several Gigabits per second (Gbps) and the IMT-2020 specification supports up to 20Gbps, although the best speeds are more intended for fixed wireless broadband ISP links than a mobile environment. Nevertheless mobile services should still experience a big speed boost, provided the networks are fuelled by enough capacity, spectrum and have good coverage.

Ofcom expects that the 700MHz band will be used for cheaply delivering wide 5G Mobile coverage in rural areas. Meanwhile the bands around 3-6GHz will focus more on urban areas (limited range will confine their use to areas of high demand) and of course the very high frequencies above 24GHz (e.g. millimetre Wave) should support “very large bandwidths, providing ultra-high capacity and very low latency” (i.e. fixed wireless links to homes or businesses etc.).


The new report – ‘Lowering barriers to 5G deployment‘ – warns that the “legal barriers, deployment issues and challenges with stakeholder engagement all have the potential to delay the rollout of 5G … [and fuel] uncertainty regarding the business case for denser 5G networks.” Indeed many of the perceived benefits from 5G are arguably already possible via the latest versions of current 4G.

Richard Hooper, Chairman of the BSG, said:

“The Government is rightly ambitious in wanting to ensure that the UK can benefit from being a global leader in the use of 5G. The difficulty lies in how to efficiently deploy the infrastructure that 5G requires and we believe that this report provides a roadmap for how we can do so – removing unnecessary barriers and helping to deliver more investment and ultimately better coverage and capacity for users.”

Matt Yardley, Partner with Analysys Mason, said:

“The next 12-18 months are vitally important for the mobile industry to prepare for 5G deployment. Easing barriers to deploying that result in lengthy delays in site planning, or increase costs of deployment to unrealistic levels, should be a key priority for Government, local authorities and the industry”.

Unfortunately a sample of the new report dropped into our inbox just as we were leaving for the day, which meant we haven’t yet been able to read through all of it before writing this short summary. Despite this the report has done a good job of simplifying the key barriers (see directly below).


In terms of addressing those, we’ll just skip right to the recommendations and it’s worth noting that the UK government has already established a Barrier Busting Task Force (BBTF) to look at many of the issues raised via past reports, as well as today’s.

bsg 5g recommendations to remove barriers

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar chris conder

    5g is the cart. We haven’t got the horse yet. Until everywhere has got fibre to feed it 5g is gonna be useless.

  2. Avatar Simon

    Well mobile masts already have capacity as most are supplied by VMB – but other countries just do it – the UK there has to be problems from the go and years and years to resolve it.

    • Avatar Chris P

      Vodafone purchased Cable & Wireless uk specifically for their uk wide comms network so they didn’t have to pay their rival for backhaul. EE, owned by BT, also use BT backhaul. I think O2 use VMB, but Virgin mobile use EE as their mvno/airwaves provider. Three have announced SSE as their backhaul provider.

      So only 1 of the 4 mobile networks use VMB. Even Virgin mobile don’t use VMB for their mobile phone service as their network provider is EE/BT.

  3. Avatar 3G Infinity (now 4G going on 5G)

    As you say nothing new and a lot of this is already in process. A couple of times “finding new sites” has been referenced, I think the MNOs will focus on re-using existing sites, eg 800MHz sites can do 700MHz (urban and rural) either same antenna or a new one, and 2.1/2.6GHz sites can do 3.5GHz with MIMO and get the same coverage (MIMO extends capacity and reach to match 2.5GHz).

  4. Avatar Chris P

    in 5 years time people will have forgotten all the fuss about delivering broadband over a cable to people’s phones.
    People will be complaining about the unsightly phone poles and cables strung along / across roads, others no doubt will be campaigning to keep the poles and cables for nostalgia.

    The only things cabled to the B.B. in my home are the vm router, my VMware server and my AirPort Extreme, 30 odd other devices are wireless. Most Other people would just have their router connected and nothing else attached by any wire.

  5. Avatar electra ruby

    What is the truth or otherwise in claims that trees impede the 5g signal? And if true are there anyways around the problem, other than getting rid of the trees?

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