UK 5G Report Reveals “Significant Shortfall in Existing Infrastructure to Meet Future Aspirational Requirements”

NIC report produced by InterDigital and others highlights existing UK mobile network coverage, capacity gaps, high-priority improvements for 5G deployment

Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

LONDON and WILMINGTON, Del., Dec. 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Findings from a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), created in conjunction with InterDigital (NASDAQ:IDCC), has identified the necessary actions that the UK government must prioritize if it is to deploy 5G effectively. The report, entitled “5G Infrastructure requirements for the UK,” recommends a significant schedule of work to be undertaken to overcome issues with existing UK mobile network coverage and capacity. This includes making recommendations for planning changes and spectrum regulation to meet 5G requirements.

The study outlines four key inhibitors currently plaguing existing UK 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure that, unless addressed, will prevent 5G meeting expectations:

  1. Greater scrutiny must be placed on improving mobile coverage on parts of UK motorways and major ‘A roads’ – Existing fiber network infrastructure that exists along major routes must be released to improve mobile network coverage. This includes better access to gantries, bridges and road signs for the deployment of mobile equipment
  2. The UK must find ways of deploying mobile infrastructure alongside major rail links – Greater emphasis must be placed on deploying fiber trackside, including ‘pre-equipping’ new rail track being laid and giving consideration to allocating dedicated wireless frequencies purely for the benefit of rail passengers  
  3. Issues related to cell densification, resulting interference and spectrum management must be overcome to deliver optimal 5G in and around major UK cities – A significant increase in the number of small radio cells (located on street furniture, small masts, walls etc.) is needed to meet the performance requirements of future networks in urban areas
  4. Significant steps must be taken to overcome poor mobile coverage in rural areas of the UK – This follows a commitment from UK operators to overcome financial restrictions and invest in mobile infrastructure to fill existing ‘not spots’  

Dirk Trossen, Principal Engineer, InterDigital Europe, stated: “The latest NIC report is aimed at focusing the attentions of all stakeholders tasked with making the UK 5G-ready a reality. It is also intended to showcase the wealth of untapped infrastructure already in place, but not being utilized, to accelerate UK 5G deployment. As a major global economic power, the UK has a real opportunity to take the lead and demonstrate how existing networks can be leveraged, regulatory challenges overcome and technical issues resolved to ensure 5G is a success.”  

The National Infrastructure Committee is a central agency, recently formed by the UK government, to oversee necessary investment as well as policy oversight, when it comes to critical national infrastructure. InterDigital’s involvement in the creation of the NIC report was a direct result of a competitive government tender. InterDigital, along with key partners LS Telcom and WHP Telecoms Ltd, led a 5G technology readiness evaluation, conducting interviews with key stakeholders to evaluate the current core 5G technologies like SDN, NFV and MEC. These findings were incorporated into the report’s wider understanding on barriers and needed actions for areas such as local planning, site planning and acquisition.

InterDigital is well-positioned to contribute to the design of 5G, having played a central role in defining global wireless standards for the industry. It is among the leading contributors to the standardization process for LTE (Long Term Evolution) and LTE-Advanced, various IEEE 802 groups as well as ETSI TC M2M and RRS.  Currently, InterDigital’s 5G R&D team has a strong focus on innovation in areas that include air interfaces, networks, M2M/IoT, spectrum sharing and services enabled by 5G networks.

The full NIC report, “5G Infrastructure requirements for the UK – LS Telcom report for the NIC,” can be viewed here.

About InterDigital®

InterDigital develops mobile technologies that are at the core of devices, networks, and services worldwide. We solve many of the industry's most critical and complex technical challenges, inventing solutions for more efficient broadband networks and a richer multimedia experience years ahead of market deployment. InterDigital has licenses and strategic relationships with many of the world's leading wireless companies. Founded in 1972, InterDigital is listed on NASDAQ and is included in the S&P MidCap 400® index.

InterDigital is a registered trademark of InterDigital, Inc.

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