DCMS blog

Realising the potential of 5G

Ian Smith


5G Testbeds & Trials Programme Director, DCMS

The world is becoming increasingly dependent on reliable mobile connectivity, mobile data use has rocketed over the past five years – increasing 74% in 2015. The term “5G” is used to describe the fifth generation of mobile communications technologies and will have capabilities significantly beyond our current connectivity infrastructure.

5G concept with smartphone on white table

Improving the online experience

Mobile networks support us in our everyday lives – connecting us with friends, family and colleagues, helping us to stay safe, and giving us access to information and services that we increasingly take for granted. 5G will enhance our ability to do these everyday activities and our experience of doing them, as a result of constant and seamless connectivity.

Increasing connections

Unlike the previous generations of mobile networks, 5G is not just an extension of existing technologies but a “system of systems” that will bring flexibility to mobile, fixed and broadcast networks and support ever larger data requirements.

5G is expected to deliver the following capabilities:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband services
  • Massive machine to machine connectivity – enabling advanced manufacturing and digital capabilities, including the Internet of Things
  • Ultra-reliable communications

From smart homes to driverless cars

Businesses across the whole economy are expected to make use of new 5G technologies and applications including transport and logistics, financial services, health and social care, retail, digital creativity, manufacturing and robotics. These applications of 5G technologies are referred to as “use cases”.

Use cases will likely include:

  • Connected and autonomous vehicles
  • Advanced manufacturing and robotics
  • Augmented reality
  • Remote surgery
  • Smart agriculture
  • Smart homes and cities
    Man's hands with a smart phone with a location app. Roads with autonomous driverless cars and people walking on the street. In the background skyline skyscrapers.

How we’re helping

The DCMS led 5G Programme is working with industry, the public sector, regulators and standards bodies, academia and organisations leading overseas trade to promote the development of a strong pipeline of 5G trials across a range of sectors within the UK. This pipeline will be a key element in driving the 5G ecosystem in the UK and will help to establish the conditions under which 5G can be deployed in a timely way, developing the UK into a 5G leader.

The 5G Programme will continue to deliver on the Government’s commitments set out in the 5G Strategy, which are:

  • Accelerating the deployment of 5G networks
  • Maximising the productivity and efficiency benefits to the UK from 5G
  • Creating new opportunities for UK businesses at home and abroad, and encouraging inward investment

Being a world leader

Government is determined that the UK should be a world leader in 5G so that we can take early advantage of its potential and help continue to create a digital economy that works for everyone. To achieve this, Government has committed £740 million to support the development of the next generation of digital infrastructure.

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