Government launches £25m trial fund to develop UK 5G industry

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is inviting interested parties from around the UK to apply for match-funded grants out of a £25m funding pot to develop and test 5G mobile network technology and help cement the country’s position as a leader in 5G.

DCMS is seeking a number of new locations to run tests of 5G mobile network technology, which heralds massive improvements in network speed and capacity to support more demanding, data-hungry users, and the explosion of smart devices around the internet of things (IoT).

In post-Brexit Britain, the government also hopes 5G technology will enhance the UK’s competitiveness on the global stage, according to digital minister Matt Hancock.

“We must be at the cutting edge of new technology and we are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G,” he said. “In these very early stages, we want all ideas from all parts of the country that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.

“It’s all part of our determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and deliver for all citizens now and in the years to come.”

Statistics generated by the government’s Future Connectivity Challenge Group suggest that if the UK was to become a world leader in 5G, the economy could stand to benefit to the tune of £173bn of incremental GDP (gross domestic product) growth between 2020 – when the first 5G networks are expected to go live – and 2030.

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