A report by the Future Communications Challenge Group (FCCG), commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has said that the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) will not affect current standardisation and use, but that members were concerned about the impact on universities and talent acquisition.
According to the report, the services and applications supported by 5G networks will have to be able to operate across national borders and to continue to operate when the consumer roams to a network in another country. The report authors said that this means it would be “quite incorrect” to view Brexit “as an opportunity for UK companies to adopt simpler or less prescriptive technical standards”.
Cost is a significant reason that the impact of 5G may not be as extreme as some may have originally thought. According to the FCCG, developing competing equipment would be so high that manufacturers “need to address global markets” and it would not be economical for them to provide this apparatus for the UK market only.
The report authors said: “Brexit will not have any impact on current spectrum use or users; the UK regulatory framework for spectrum of the WT Act, licences, and statutory instruments is self-contained.”
However, members of the FCCG have expressed concern about whether UK universities will be able to continue to participate in European and international research programmes. Since 5G research in Europe is largely associated with the EU Horizon 2020 research framework, the report authors said it is “essential” that a clear position is communicated on what funding will be available after Brexit and how the UK will continue to engage in these international collaborative projects.
The report also pointed to recruitment as another area of concern. The authors questioned whether UK networks, service providers and manufacturers will be able to have access to “talented and skilled engineering and technician workers” after Brexit.