Mobile operator O2 has announced that they will activate their future 5G network in June 2019 at the Millbrook Testing Ground for self-driving vehicles in Bedfordshire (England), which forms part of the £6m Government supported AutoAir project (plus £4.5m in matched private investment).
The operator intends to use its 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum at Millbrook in advance of the first phase of their 5G rollout in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London later this year (here), which is particularly interesting since at present they’ve only been using 2.3GHz for existing 4G (LTE) services.
Low latency times and data speeds of up to 1Gbps are expected from the deployment at Millbrook, which unlike most such roll-outs will be focused upon catering for the Mobile Broadband demands of fast moving Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). All of this will be supported by a high capacity fibre optic link and some 23 small cell base station sites.
Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s CTO, said:
“5G will play a key role in how our country develops over the next few years. If implemented properly, 5G has the potential to drive economic growth, create jobs and enable a new host of technologies – including self-driving vehicles. That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting the trial activity at Millbrook, alongside ambitious partners who share our vision of building a truly Mobile Britain.”
Paul Senior, CEO of Dense Air and CSO of Airspan, said:
“The AutoAir consortium is pleased to welcome O2 and Atkins the 2nd phase of the project. O2’s integration and commercialisation of the 5G network at Millbrook to support both public and private mobile use cases is a world first and will be a reference deployment for the UK mobile industry as it moves to support for 5G applications for Industry 4.0, large enterprise and Government.”
The trial is supported by members including Dense Air, Airspan Networks, Millbrook, Blu Wireless, Real Wireless, the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre and the R&D arm of motorsport racing team McLaren.