Stadium of Light testing new 5G mobile network

Stadium of Light testing new 5G mobile network

The Stadium of Light is set to be among various sporting venues and popular tourism destinations across the UK chosen to participate in trials of innovative 5G mobile technology, as part of an £88 million Government initiative.

Nineteen projects and diverse locations from across the country will serve as test sites for Open RAN mobile technology, a system that facilitates the collaboration of different network providers’ equipment to enhance mobile coverage, transcending the limitations of each provider working exclusively with their own infrastructure.

The selected trial locations encompass bustling urban hubs such as Glasgow, Cambridge, Liverpool, Bath, and the City of London, as well as prominent sports and entertainment venues like the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. Additionally, charming seaside resorts like Blackpool and Worthing are included.

These projects have been identified through the Government's Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE) Competition, which sought proposals to showcase innovative approaches to building fast and reliable mobile networks in high-traffic areas.

Sir John Whittingdale, the Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, emphasized the significance of a swift and dependable mobile connection, whether one is in a bustling city center or a rural village. He noted that diversifying and securing a range of technologies is essential to support the network effectively.

The £88 million investment in research and development by the Government will fund projects utilizing innovative Open RAN solutions, making mobile networks more adaptable and resilient. This forward-looking technology aims to ensure lightning-fast connectivity nationwide for many years to come.

Major UK mobile network operators, including BT/EE, Three, Virgin Media O2, and Vodafone, have expressed support for the Government’s strategy of fostering more open mobile networks as a means of enhancing infrastructure resilience and promoting healthy competition.

Hamish MacLeod, CEO of Mobile UK, an industry association, emphasized the importance of developing open and interoperable RAN solutions for the UK’s mobile industry. He highlighted that this announcement aligns with the ongoing research and development efforts of Mobile UK’s member operators, furthering their aspirations to increase traffic over open RAN architecture.

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