A study from the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, the government’s nationally coordinated programme of investment in 5G, has placed the West Midlands first for 5G coverage, whilst Birmingham also ranked highest for 5G coverage among the top six cities.
The study analysed 5G coverage across the UK’s Combined Authority areas.
In the West Midlands, West Midlands 5G (WM5G) was established in 2019 by the 5GTT Programme. Its mission is to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks and to test, prove and scale new 5G services across the West Midlands.
The region has reaped the rewards of WM5G’s Infrastructure Acceleration programme and has been ranked highest in a 5G mobile coverage study by independent telecoms advisory company Umlaut.
Since its inception, WM5G has been working closely with mobile network operators (MNOs) and local authorities using a variety of innovative tools and approaches to accelerate the roll-out of 5G across the region.
These included working with local authorities to break down barriers to deployment of 5G infrastructure, accelerating 5G roll out in the region. The project estimates that this could save £117.2m in the rollout of 5G across the whole of the UK.
In some cases, the project found that the time to deploy infrastructure for some of its use cases was reduced by 6 months.
Some of the case studies being tested with 5G technology include managing traffic in an urban area.
WM5G’s Road Sensor Network trial will install sensor cameras and IOT sensors across the key road networks in the region. These will form a network of monitoring capable of collecting, processing and sharing real-time traffic data, emissions and weather data.
Access to this rich data source would improve the Local Authorities ability to manage traffic locally with existing control interactions. The Regional Traffic Coordination Centre would also benefit providing the ability to manage incidents and congestion across the region.
WM5G estimates that this could lead to a five per cent reduction in journey delays, as well as benefits from fuel savings, reduced accidents and lower emissions.