2018 Predictions: O2 chief operating officer Derek McManus

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O2 chief operating officer Derek McManus predicts a “Wave” of innovation thanks to new airwaves in preparation for 5G

2018 will be a pivotal year for the UK telecoms sector. The forthcoming spectrum auction will release the new allocation of mobile airwaves to the UK and it is up to the government and Ofcom to ensure both a speedy and fair process. This will act as a springboard for 5G, paving the way for future innovation in the field.

In 2018 I expect a wave of related innovations, notably in artificial intelligence to deliver more personalised and streamlined experiences and smart transport systems that reduce delays. These will build on the advances we’ve seen in remote healthcare and driverless cars here in Britain. O2 is already providing data transfer for projects including the Greenwich GATEway project in London and the DRIVEN consortium, so we know first-hand just how important superfast connections between cars will be to future developments in mobility, including congestion relief and car sharing.

We know from our own research that 5G will add £7 bn a year to UK plc by 2026 if we invest now.

O2 is already making progress in laying the foundations for 5G, for example through our recent installation of fibre connected small cell network in Aberdeen – a UK first.

Britain could become a global leader in 5G and use it to gain an enviable advantage for society and the economy, but we will only realise this if government, businesses, tech companies, planners and service operators come together now to put mobile front and centre of our plans for the future.

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