Mobile UK’s Director Hamish MacLeod On The Next Steps For The UK Mobile Industry
Hamish MacLeod, Mobile UK’s Chief Executive, gave a keynote speech at the Westminster eForum policy conference, discussing the next steps for the UK mobile industry. He pointed to the Government’s upcoming Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, as important to both the industry and the Government’s ambitions to deploy advanced next generation 5G networks. Hamish was joined by Director of Mobile Network Strategy at Ofcom, Brian Potterill.
Levelling up through 5G connectivity:
The Wireless Infrastructure Strategy is the Government’s much anticipated strategic framework for the development, deployment, and adoption of 5G and future networks in the UK over the next decade.
Speaking to conference attendees Hamish outlined how fundamental the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy will be in ensuring the level of mobile connectivity the UK will require to support the needs of consumers, businesses, and public services into the future, including in the transport, education and healthcare sectors.
Over the past decade, Ofcom has reported that data requirements have increased rapidly by around 40% per year. Stronger wireless connections are required to fulfil this demand and 5G is the only mobile network able to keep up with this.
Overcoming the 5G hurdles:
While 5G is clearly vital to the UK’s future Hamish was clear that to match the goals set out by the Government it is also imperative that the right policy framework in in place. Highlighting a recent report from the Digital Connectivity Forum he outlined the growing gap between the industry’s planned investments in new network infrastructure of £9 billion by 2030 and the cost of delivering full 5G – estimated by the report to be an additional approximately £23-25 billion.
Investment in our mobile infrastructure benefits all. Extending4G to 95% of the UK’s landmass through the Shared Rural Network programme and rolling out 5G will open up a vast array of opportunities right across the economy. This is the clear lesson we have learnt from all previous generations of mobile technology.
But the key question is: will the current investment environment provide the financial capacity to build the networks that the UK now needs, so as to make the most of all these opportunities?
As the trade association representing the four mobile network operators, Mobile UK is encouraging UK government to continue pushing various barrier busting measures that will speed up 5G rollout, where investment is available but it cannot be utilised fast enough.
Government funded roles within local authorities such as Digital Champions will support areas across the nation coordinate and prioritise digital connectivity and address digital exclusion as part of its levelling up agenda. Click here to find out more about the role of Digital Champions.