Kings College follows Surrey and Bristol universities with first 5G test bed as part of £16m Ericsson partnership

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Ericsson CTO says 5G is ‘moving towards commercialisation’ with more test beds to come

Kings College has launched its first 5G test bed in partnership with Ericsson as part of a government funded £16 million partnership.

Speaking to Mobile News at the ‘Future is 5G’ event, Ericsson CTO Erik Ekudden also confirmed that there would be more, similar test beds set up as the UK aims to be a 5G leader.

Ericsson has already struck similar partnerships with Surrey University and Bristol University where 5G testbeds are already active, and plans to share findings between the three
facilities.

As the test-beds in Surrey University, Bristol University and Kings University become operational and ‘link’, the vision of ‘UK 5G’ edges ever closer.

Ekudden told Mobile News: “I think 5G is an important infrastructure play for countries to make sure they have the right foundations for their enterprises and industries.

“It comes down to basics – it’s not test-beds any longer, 5G is moving to commercialisation.

“The gear we’ve put up on the roof of Kings is the first commercial gear. By the end of this year we will have more coming out.”

New Capabilities 

Ekudden also suggested a simplified site-permitting process is paramount for ‘UK 5G’ to lead Europe.

With the expected launch of 5G in 2020, new mast sites across the UK will be opened and many established sites will be needing hardware or software upgrades.

The government is searching for a major city to serve as a large-scale urban testing environment for 5G network technology, but the Ericsson CTO suggested the fundamentals need adequate attention concerning the up-front taxation of building sites.

Ekudden said: “In our case, it’s a software upgrade but it’s also about adding new capabilities to new sites where you want to have even higher capacity.

“For example, in really dense areas and indoor environments there must of course be new sites, and those are in need of a simplified site-permitting process.

“Since this is a national project it must be looked at as an industry platform for the nation at large.

It’s important to look at it as such, so as not to do up-front taxing that will be prohibitive in terms of getting this infrastructure in place.”

Also speaking at the event was Kings College professor in wireless communications Mischa Dohler, the organiser of the newly-constructed test-bed.

He was given nine months to create a working prototype, and duly delivered.

Dohler told Mobile News: “We brought in a great vendor in Ericsson with fantastic operators in the whole supply chain, so in essence we succeeded because I created a platform of innovation and collaboration that seamlessly brought in everyone that could make it happen.”

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