Samsung, Arqiva plan UK 5G trials

Simon Beresford-Wylie

Samsung Electronics and UK communications infrastructure and media services provider Arqiva are to conduct the UK’s first 5G trials with a focus on Fixed Wireless Access. The trial deployment will demonstrate the potential for 5G to serve as a compelling alternative to fibre deployment for delivery of fast broadband services as a lead-in to future 5G enhanced mobile broadband services.

“5G will be a crucial pillar of the UK’s economy in the 2020s. The smarter network infrastructure and an enhanced ability to support exponential scale for connectivity will open the doors to further applications across a variety of markets such as IoT, industrial applications and the full promise of autonomous vehicles,” said Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Arqiva. “Our trial with Samsung will demonstrate the enormous potential of 5G FWA as an alternative to fibre for delivering ultra-high speed connectivity to homes and businesses.”

The trial is set to take place in the second half of 2017 in London and will involve the deployment of an end-to-end 5G FWA solution network in the city centre, operating in the 28 GHz band. Samsung’s 5G Access Units (the base stations) leverage high-frequency millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum and advanced technologies such as beam-forming, to provide high-density coverage and ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity to CPEs (or Customer Premise Equipment) installed in nearby homes or offices. mmWave is ideal for 5G Fixed Wireless Access-type services as it allows operators to leverage the underused spectrum available in the bands above 6GHz and deliver competitive broadband service to a wider population in significantly less time.

Samsung’s compact 5G Access Units are designed for easy and rapid deployment, while the CPE is user-installable and can bring a subscriber online in a matter of minutes. This gives 5G Fixed Wireless considerable advantages over comparable FTTH or FTTB (Fiber-to-the-Home/Building) deployments in terms of service rollout times and the costs to both the service provider and the subscriber. At the same time, the service is robust – able to deliver gigabit broadband speeds to entire neighbourhoods – and can very easily be extended to support new services in the future.

Arqiva says it is uniquely positioned within the UK because of its significant infrastructure assets, including mobile sites and lampposts that can be used to install the 5G Access Units, placing it in a pioneering position to lead upcoming 5G deployments.

“With advanced news of 5G trials already being made in the US and Korean markets, we’re really excited to be partnering with Arqiva to jointly demonstrate just how important Europe is to the 5G revolution,” said Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe. “There is so much opportunity in the region due to the diversity of markets and services already in place here, and we think the UK is a prime candidate to show off the benefits that 5G can bring to consumers here.”

The two companies believe that the UK serves as an ideal starting point for 5G technology introduction within Europe. This is in large part because of the low broadband penetration and promising spectrum conditions combined with its diverse and advanced service economy that is ideally suited to exploring new connected use cases.

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