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techUK Welcomes Government's Announcement of 5G Testbeds & Trials Competition

Effective coordination and collaboration is essential for the UK to become a 5G leader.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock has announced a £25 million open competition for 5G Testbeds and Trials to ensure that the UK is “one of the first countries in the world to use 5G.”

Delivered by Innovate UK and funded from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), the 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme is to make the UK an attractive place to test 5G applications and services. This competition joins the earlier July announcement of University of Surrey’s 5GIC, University of Bristol and King’s College London to develop £16m 5G test network. The scope for this competition encourages consortiums to collaborate with other projects which are also funded by the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.

Raj Sivalingam, techUK’s Executive Director for Telecoms commented: “techUK welcomes Government’s announcement of the Testbeds and Trials competition and its re-affirmation of the desire for the UK to become a 5G leader.

"The FCCG report has stated that UK leadership in 5G has the potential for the opportunity to create £173 billion of incremental UK GDP growth to 2030. It is therefore essential for effective coordination and collaboration between Government policy, the digital communications industry and the wider industrial sectors representing the markets for 5G technologies and services."

techUK has been engaging with DCMS, leveraging techUK’s 5G expertise and connections across vertical sectors to harness industry interest and perspectives, including focus on digital connectivity in local areas. techUK looks forward to continuing dialogue and engagement with DCMS as this project progresses.

5G Testbeds and Trials Programme: Phase 1

As part of the scope of this competition, DCMS has identified that it is looking for projects which help support the development of the UK’s “5G ecosystem” by addressing at least one of the following:

  • explore the potential for 5G to deliver benefits for businesses
  • develop new 5G applications and services
  • develop and explore new business models around key 5G technologies
  • reduce the commercial risks associated with investment in 5G

Open from today 23 October 2017 match-funded grants are available up to £5 million. Expectation is to deliver the whole grant funded element of the project by 31 March 2019, and projects should target testbeds and trials that have a short build cycle. The competition is open to organisations of all types who collaborate together in a consortium to bid for grant funding. The full details of the scope and application for the competition are available online.

Briefing events providing an overview of the competition are taking place in London on the 30th OctoberManchester on the 31st October, and Glasgow 1st November.


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