What is the 5G Auction?
What is 5G and when will it launch in the UK?
18:17 20 February 2018
5G is the next generation of mobile communication for both phones and Internet of Things (IoT). With a theoretical speed of between 5,000 and 100,000 Mbps combined with low latency, it is expected to play a crucial role in many innovative technologies, such as self-driving cars that will require to communicate with road infrastructure such as speed-limit and traffic light changes. 5G is also expected to bring high speed internet access to people living in rural areas with unreliable wired broadband service.
However, everything about 5G is theoretical at this point. Until standards are fully agreed by the 3GPP consortium, a global body of companies with an interest in getting 5G to the masses, we will not know exactly what it can offer us.
5G can be launched in the UK as early as 2019. 5G tests have already been carried out by both EE and Vodafone, achieving speeds of 2,800Mbps. However, both tests were purely proofs of concept.
In order to get started with 5G, UK providers will join an auction run by the telecoms regulator, Ofcom. The auction is scheduled to be carried out in the first half of 2018. Following the auction, UK providers can start building the needed infrastructure, including high speed internet cables and mobile masts.