Midlands leading the way in 5G coverage

Date posted: August 2, 2021
a keyboard with a bunch of fiber optic wires and a ethernet cable

The 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, the government’s nationally coordinated programme of investment in 5G has published a number a case studies which heavily feature programmes based in the Midlands.

Amongst the case studies published include those focusing on West Midlands 5G (WM5G), the 5G RuralFirst programme which operates in Shropshire and the Worcestershire 5G consortium.

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) was established in 2019 by the 5GTT Programme.

Its mission is to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks and to test, prove and scale new 5G services across the West Midlands.

The region has reaped the rewards of WM5G’s Infrastructure Acceleration programme and has been ranked highest in a 5G mobile coverage study by independent telecoms advisory company Umlaut.

The study analysed 5G coverage across the UK’s Combined Authority areas and placed the West Midlands first for 5G coverage, whilst Birmingham also ranked highest for 5G coverage among the top six cities.

WM5G have also rolled out 5G technology in order to manage traffic in urban areas including a Road Sensor Network trial and providing a rich data source for the Regional Traffic Coordination Centre, improving the centre’s ability to manage incidents and congestion across the West Midlands.

Partly based in Shropshire, the 5G RuralFirst project trialled new wireless and networking technologies, spectrum sharing, and new applications & services.

The project investigated whether 5G connectivity could be rolled out in hard to reach rural areas where Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have limited engagement due to low return on investment compared to urban environments.

The project used this network to then test 5G use cases in agriculture, tourism and broadcasting including animal health monitoring, soil quality and a connected wind farm.

The Worcestershire 5G Consortium explored ways to increase productivity by using robotics, big data analytics and augmented reality with 5G in a manufacturing setting.

Led by a team of 5G and Industry 4.0 experts, the Worcestershire 5G Testbed provided a platform for UK industry to develop and test next-generation technology that could revolutionise the way businesses operate in the future.

The Worcestershire 5G Consortium, based at Malvern Hills Science Park, explored the feasibility of a range of use cases including possible ways to increase productivity through early machine fault detection using robotics, remote training, and ‘security by design’ at the Worcester Bosch factory.

The project has recently launched a subsidiary company, nexGworx, to continue the work on smart manufacturing and digital innovation.

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