The country’s tech association, techUK, has released a new report into how important 5G is set to be and the obstacles the UK must overcome if it wants to be a global 5G leader.

Explaining the importance of 5G, techUK said it is expected to be significantly faster than 4G, as well as more reliable, less energy-consuming, responsive enough to support self-driving cars and to enable thousands of sensors to connect at the same location.

The new report focuses on three key areas that require attention: coverage; collaboration and spectrum.

According to the organisation, the UK government must further extend mobile coverage, saying that today’s “patchy coverage of major road and rail corridors must be addressed as a priority”.

In terms of collaboration, techUK said that “unfettered competition would reduce the net benefits to UK plc”. It added that there must also be more co-operation and a consistent approach between central and local government, highlighting that the process of deploying transmitters in city centres is “protracted and fragmented” at present.

The report also called spectrum the “lifeblood of all mobile technologies” and encouraged Ofcom to work quickly to get spectrum into the hands of industry since the current licensing method may no longer be appropriate.

Julian David, chief executive of techUK, explained that the UK was slow in getting 4G spectrum into the hands of industry, and that the planning and approvals process further delayed the UK seeing any benefits of 4G.

Mr David added: “techUK strongly supports the UK government’s focus on 5G, and the considerable effort Ofcom has put into identifying suitable spectrum which could be made available quickly, but to become a 5G leader, the UK needs to do even more.

“Specifically, we need to see a much more co-ordinated approach to deploying – and sharing – infrastructure, and a focus on connectivity in major transport corridors.”

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