The Future of 5G Inside Buildings in the UK

The four UK mobile network operators, BT/EE, O2, Vodafone & Three have started rolling out 5G coverage across numerous UK cities this year and it’s claimed 5G will revolutionize business and provide significant growth in the UK economy by changing the way we do things, but how will this be achieved? The UK 4G mobile networks delivers countrywide (91% geographic) download speeds of 10-40Mbps and 20-50Mbps in our cities, which would be respectable speeds for a home fixed line broadband connection and delivers social media & video on the move. Current headlines promise 5G will deliver 10x these download speeds, but fails to mention there is no Ofcom license requirement for minimum coverage areas. You can already download a film on 4G much quicker (10mins) than you can watch it (100mins), so what applications can we put 5G to use on which will deliver benefits to Users, businesses and large building owners &/or operators?

What 5G (New Radio) is and what capabilities it provides will be described, these being enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable & low latency communication (uRLLC) and massive machine type communications (mMTC) or massive IoT. Possible “killer application areas” will be outlined, including smart buildings (e.g. building control, IoT devices, optimizing occupancy, etc.), connected & autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and industrial machines.

The first 5G frequencies auctioned by Ofcom in April 2019 and the current mobile network operate (MNO) rollouts will be set out, together with the current Ofcom plan for future 5G license auctions, the new frequencies, intended applications and associated operator obligations (e.g. geographic coverage, in-building coverage, shared rural masts).

I’ll outline why an in-building mobile phone coverage solution may be required for your building and how implementing it is a long and not inexpensive business which requires both relevant technical expertise and the cooperation of the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). A typical implementation process highlighting both the technical requirements (e.g. JOTS) and the harsh commercial realities of dealing with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will be described, together with the potential pitfalls of trying to implement a “quick & cheap” solution or no solution at all, both of which will significantly impact rental income!


Colin Eddison, Technical Director at Herbert In-Building Wireless

D2 Spaces 14:30

Bio to follow.