Mobile operator EE (BT) has announced this week that their recently launch trial of future 5G wireless technology in the capital city, which began last month at Montgomery Square in Canary Wharf (here), has been extended to include some of the busiest parts of East London.
As expected the new trial has now grown to include Provost Street, City Road, Central Street, Old Street, Cheapside, St Paul’s, Finsbury Circus Garden, Clerkenwell Street and Bartholomew Square. The trial itself is testing 5G (via the 3.4GHz band – 40MHz of spectrum) as an ultrafast fixed wireless broadband ISP style solution for connecting homes and businesses (locals are now being invited to help test).
We should point out that this is different from the mobile focused deployment of 5G technology. At present the mobile side cannot easily be tested because there aren’t any commercially available Smartphones’ to play around with and some of the other hardware / standards are not quite ready.
Nevertheless EE notes that the current trial has already highlighted several key challenges when deploying 5G:
Key Deployment Challenges
Rooftop sites often need significant strengthening to carry the new 50kg 5G antennas – and some sites house three of these.
The level of upgrade work required can cause delays in obtaining planning permission, and can necessitate repeat visits, which means multiple access requests to landlords.
Location for 5G antennas can be dictated by the need to stay below regulated power output levels (details).
The CTIO of BT, Howard Watson, said: “Deploying this brand new layer of our EE mobile network is far from straightforward, and this trial has helped us to understand – and learn how to overcome – the significant challenges that we’ll face in the coming years. We’re also learning about the coverage we can achieve with 5G New Radio on our new 3.4GHz spectrum, both indoors and in densely cluttered streets.”
It’s probably no coincidence that EE chose today to put out this news, the same day as rival Three UK have said that they too will aim (like EE) to start the commercial roll-out of 5G later in 2019.
Industry: Telecommunications News