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Stratospheric Platforms wants £130m for 5G

February 21, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Cambridge-based Stratospheric Platforms wants to cover most of the UK with 5G access and using unmanned high-flying drones to achieve coverage. It is also seeking fresh financing of £130 million (€147.3m) to build the drone fleet.

Stratospheric, backed by Deutsche Telekom, has already raised £70 million.

The company says that just one of its drones can replace around 450 traditional phone masts or towers. It adds that 24 of its aircraft could cover the whole of the UK with 5G services.

However, Stratospheric wants first to focus on rural regions of the country, but it has not enjoyed any help from British government agencies. Numerous contacts have been attempted but, according to CEO Richard Deakin who talking to The Sunday Times newspaper, there has been no response to date.

Deakin said that Stratospheric was in discussion with overseas governments and had trialled a 5G test in Saudi Arabia last year.

“It can’t just be about pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into large companies. How is that smaller ecosystem going to be nurtured? Because, at the moment, it’s very difficult to see how one can access any form of government support or investment,” he added.

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