National and regional governments must help UK MNOs to focus on network densification if the country is to relaise the full potential of 5G, according to senior figures at Ericsson

With a flurry of 5G launch announcements from at least three of the UK’s big four mobile network operators, the UK is establishing itself as a leader in European 5G rollout.

EE has already launched its fledgling 5G offering and similar launches from Vodafone and Three are imminent, as the UK steals a march on most of the rest of Europe.

However, rather than resting on its laurels, the UK now needs to concentrate on the next step of its 5G rollout – network densification.

Ericsson’s CEO for The UK and Ireland, Marielle Lindgren, says that network operators must now begin densifying their networks, in order to deliver the gigabit speeds and ubiquitous availability that will come to typify 5G services.

"In order to achieve Gigabit speeds and cater for the increased capacity and latency requirements needed for advanced 5G use-cases such as 5G gaming, AR/VR services or industrial internet, operators will need to densify their networks, which requires more infrastructure and more sites," she explained.

"The government, and more specifically local councils, have an important role to play in enabling these infrastructure upgrades. For faster 5G deployment to take place, regulation needs addressing, which includes planning permission for site access, access to fibre networks for 5G backhaul and limitations on mast heights, just to name a few.

"On top of this, there are an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 4G radio base stations in the UK which are still not 5G-ready and will need to be modernised to introduce 5G. Whether operators decide to use existing radio vendors or introduce new ones, time and effort to do this modernisation will be similar," she said.


You can read our full interview with Marielle Lindgren by clicking here.

Ericsson will be discussing their plans for 5G in the UK at Connected Britain next week. Click here for a full agenda and to find out how you can attend the event.