The West Midlands and Birmingham – which have reaped the rewards of West Midlands 5G’s Infrastructure Acceleration programme – have been ranked highest in a new 5G mobile coverage study by independent telecoms advisory company umlaut.
The study analysed 5G coverage across the UK’s Combined Authority areas and placed the West Midlands first for 5G coverage, whilst Birmingham also ranked highest for 5G coverage among the top six cities in England and Scotland – according to the umlaut Audit Report, 5G Coverage in the UK 2020.
The news further reinforces the digital strength of the West Midlands as it establishes itself as Europe’s number one location for 5G technology and innovation led by West Midlands 5G (WM5G).
WM5G was established as part of the UK Government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Its mission is to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks and to test, prove and scale new 5G services across the West Midlands.
Since its inception, WM5G has been working closely with Mobile Network Operators and Local Authorities to accelerate the roll-out of 5G across the region – with the project time for the deployment of infrastructure reducing by 6-12 months in some cases.
WM5G has worked with all seven Local Authorities within the West Midlands Combined Authority region to establish Digital Champions and Coordinators to assess barriers to 5G deployment. Using its expertise to provide clarity on changes to both the National Planning Policy Framework and Electronic Communications Code, WM5G is now working in its role as arbitrator to encourage sustained, collaborative relationships between MNOs and LAs.
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “We are proud to have funded the pioneering multi-city West Midlands testbed to speed up 5G roll-out and unlock new ways it can boost businesses and improve people’s lives. The region’s position at the top of the table for 5G coverage proves just how beneficial this Government investment has been and we’ll be making sure the rest of the UK benefits from the lessons learned.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, added: “5G is the future of technology in the UK, and it is great to see the West Midlands leading the way. Not only will 5G help shape our future economic successes, but it will also be a key provider of jobs across the region.
“These are incredibly difficult economic times, but we are determined to help protect and create jobs. Digital is already a key sector that is only going to get bigger, and the WMCA is working with colleges and training providers to allow people to improve their digital skills and make the most of the opportunity 5G brings.”
Rhys Enfield, Programme Director for Infrastructure Acceleration at WM5G, added: “We have worked tirelessly to help Local Authorities and Mobile Network Operators to find an appropriate balance between the economic and social benefits of 5G infrastructure and its visual impact, enabling us to remove the long-standing barriers to deployment in the region.
“Growing the region’s 5G infrastructure will allow the West Midlands to remain at the forefront of digital innovation and reap the rewards of 5G technology. The roll-out of 5G will attract investment and innovation as part of a technological renaissance and we’re delighted to see our hard work result in being ranked highest of all the combined authorities by umlaut.”
Hakan Ekmen, CEO Telecommunication at umlaut, said: “Congratulations to the West Midlands for ranking in 1st position for 5G geographical coverage. Today, we measure and evaluate telecommunications networks – such as mobile and fixed networks – in 120 countries and are helping to improve customer experience. Our umlaut benchmarks are the de-facto industry standard, fairly and transparently assessing global digital infrastructure.”