Researchers from the University of Sussex and the telecom consultancy firm Plum recently announced they successfully tested indoor coverage of 5G signals. The completion of this study, the two organizations claim, is important in ensuring the smooth rollout of 5G networks, which is expected to begin in the United Kingdom by 2020. The study focused on the indoor coverage and spectrum co-existence of 5G signals that run on the 3.5GHz band and other frequencies below the mmWave spectrum. The 3.5GHz band is one of the frequencies that UK carriers will initially use to build their 5G networks. All four major UK carriers obtained at least 20MHz of the 3.5GHz band at a recent auction organized by telecommunications regulator Ofcom, with Vodafone getting the largest portion of the spectrum.
Ensuring the smooth deployment of 5G services is a priority for the UK telecom industry and many others like it. Many homeowners, especially in rural areas, could potentially benefit from the rollout of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technologies. A significant number of households and businesses in the United Kingdom are not yet connected to the country's fiber broadband network, primarily due to the prohibitive cost of installing fiber lines across the country. Researchers noted that 5G FWA offers a cost-effective way of providing broadband service to consumers by connecting multiple houses and establishments to the internet using mobile cell sites. Homeowners should expect data rates that are at least 20 times faster than 4G LTE, and they may even eventually experience maximum download speeds of up to 1Gbps. Moreover, the automotive segment, healthcare, and industrial automation also stand to benefit from the deployment of 5G networks due to its lower latency, improved reliability, and greater network capacity.
A number of stakeholders in the European country have been actively involved in recent 5G tests. For example, UK carrier EE is expected to begin its first 5G trial this fall. On the other hand, the network operator's parent company BT has partnered with Huawei for the development of 5G technologies in laboratories across the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Sussex also conducted tests last year that studied the performance of 5G networks that run on mmWave frequencies.