Enabling 5G in the UK

09 March 2018

5G is the next generation of mobile technology. It is expected to deliver faster and better mobile broadband, and to enable more revolutionary uses in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and healthcare. This may create benefits for people and businesses and expand the role of wireless connectivity within the economy and society. As the UK’s communications regulator, we have a role to play alongside Government and industry in enabling the development and rollout of 5G, and unlocking its benefits.

Ofcom shares the Government’s ambition for the UK to become a world leader in 5G. In this document we provide an update on the actions we will be taking to facilitate 5G rollout in the UK.

We plan to release different types of spectrum bands for 5G as soon as practicable. We already make innovation and trial licences available to enable 5G trials and are today launching our Innovation and Trial portal to help applicants access spectrum for innovative uses. We see great potential to use these licences to test innovative 5G applications using high frequency spectrum, in particular 26 GHz, the 5G millimeter wave pioneer band.

We will continue to work with the UK Government and governments in the nations to ensure site access and planning are not a barrier to the deployment of 5G, and we will ensure there are a range of solutions available for 5G sites to connect to core telecoms networks (‘backhaul’). Finally, we will collaborate with other European regulators to ensure that net neutrality regulation is not a barrier to 5G evolution.

We will act as a facilitator, working across different sectors to encourage them to work together, and with other countries to further understand the potential applications of 5G, and how they might work in practice in the UK.

Discussion document: Enabling 5G in the UK (PDF, 1.4 MB)