FTSE 100 firms invited to help trial 5G technology

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Some of the UK's biggest businesses have been invited by mobile network operator O2 to help trial 5G technology ahead of the expected commercial rollout of the services in 2020.

The provider has written to all members of the FTSE 100 group of enterprises inviting them to work together in order to better understand the processes and use cases for businesses that could benefit from 5G.

So far, much of the talk surrounding the technology has been related to improved consumer mobile broadband, but the real potential for 5G could well lie in the enterprise space, especially as it promises to transform tools such as the Internet of Things and automation.

Chief executive of O2 Mark Evans said that while it would be foolish not to embrace 5G, the deployment of the technology must have a clear purpose and not be rolled out just for the sake of it.

"Mobile, and specifically 5G, is one of the UK's most powerful opportunities to strengthen our economy, enrich our society and outperform on the global stage," he said at an event marking O2's latest financial results. "Let's work with businesses particularly because we understand consumer needs more … in collaboration over how to deploy 5G to meet that business need."

Mr Evans also spoke about the potential impact of Brexit on the mobile and 5G market in the UK, telling Computer Weekly that the UK's exit from the EU will not impact demand for faster mobile connectivity services.

"We still believe that the UK economy will continue to demand and have an interest in connectivity, particularly mobile," he stated. "So do we think that Brexit will have a significant impact on that? The answer is no."