back to article Think tank warns any further delay to 5G rollout will cost the UK multiple billions – but hey, at least Huawei is out

The UK will take a multibillion-pound blow to productivity and economic prosperity should the 5G rollout be held up further, a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) claims. The report – "Upwardly Mobile: How the UK can gain the full benefits of the 5G revolution" – written by former UK.gov advisors Alex Jackman …

  1. JohnMurray

    As I walk outside my house to make a phone call....even though EE says that 4G connectivity is good in my area, inside and out....................

    1. Caver_Dave
      Flame

      Yes, I have to go at least 200m to get signal, and then run back home before the 2FA text times out.

      But the checker says that I have brilliant 3G and 4G coverage! Bollocks! And they know it!

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Yes, I'm in Germany, just dropped my Vodafone "up to 500mbps" LTE contract and gone back to congstar, they only offer me 50mbps, but I actually get 50mbps at home and work, as opposed to Vodafone, which gives me 5mbps at home and 0.001mbps at work. And congstar costs half of what Vodafone costs and I get 15GB a month, instead of 10GB (of which I am currently lucky to actually use 1GB, due to lack of coverage).

        If I go into the local city, I do get >100mbps, if I am lucky. But as I've spent 80% of my time in areas with little to no data coverage, the contract was a complete waste of money.

        5G? I'd be happy if they sorted out 3G or 4G first.

  2. Blackjack Silver badge

    Meh

    They will just blame the pandemic.

  3. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    What Is Mobile Communication?

    I can see the buildings of London from my house, nearby roads and the nearby area, I live perhaps 8~10 miles from the M25, but using mobile communications at home is solely for the birds.

    In vain, I tell callers to ring my landline, but every time a series of failing mobile calls is required to get the message across that mobile service is a crap illusion. The two words cannot live together in my home postcode

    Given the horror show of software rubbish Huawei are today reported as delivering, I am not sad that they are counted out, but it is clear that the mobile network service planners are about as skilled as the Huawei software engineers, i.e. useless

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: What Is Mobile Communication?

      That is the one saving grace of my Vodafone contract, even though there is 1 bar of 2G coverage, at least it makes calls over Wi-Fi, when it is connected.

    2. Manx Cat

      Re: What Is Mobile Communication?

      A strange idea, but could the UK not partner with Huawei with the Open RAN project?

      Full input and oversight along with copyright/patents...

  4. HarryBl

    Our local newspaper is onto a news generating scam. It publishes the planning applications for 5G masts knowing full well that there'll be a follow up story some time later of the new masts being burnt down by the mongs.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Sounds almost too similar to the original fire brigade who, being established after the great fire of London, were paid per fire they put out. It doesn't take much thought to consider exactly what happened as a result of this payment scheme...

  5. wyatt

    If this was to be true, was there a massive jump when 3G and 4G arrived?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Possibly because 4G never existed, it was just 3.2G or something like that?

      Or possibly because it's all a load of bollocks beyond a certain level of infrastructure. Unfortunately none of this involves filling in the huge number of not-spots or even entire areas with no broadband, it's about upgrading existing infrastructure and somehow monetising this upgrade - by charging more for "premium" services to cover this upgrade. 5G still won't deliver two way video calling (there's a reason why all the Apple adverts have "using WiFi in small print", it will also still suck when having too many devices in a small area.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      The absence of any nod towards the "massive jump" from 2G to 3G in the report, really says it all.

      Reading the report it is clear the authors believe 5G to be synonymous with "Digital infrastructure" a and "Digital networks and services" ie. it is a replacement/upgrade of both 4G and existing (fixed) broadband. So are making all sorts of claims for 5G, that for anyone who has been involved in mobile the design of IT know can (and will) largely be met by existing technologies; just that the existing technologies -- like 5G need to be provide nationwide coverage...

      It would seem the authors have taken the OECD statement "the extent of 5G gains depends on ‘the speed at which 5G will be rolled-out, and how quickly it will be taken up by businesses and consumers’ " and simply started running.

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    Shirley

    It's worth losing a few billion to show solidarity with the UK's friends in the White House and to help make America great again?

    I found this line in the article interesting "It also wishes to see judges empowered to backdate rental agreements for cellular sites and to grant broader rights to infrastructure owners." I would like to know what broader rights infrastructure owners ought to have, are they thinking that these owners should be able to erect towers willy nilly regardless of objections or is it something else?

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we all waiting for 5G?

    no we are not.

    The marketing people want us to believe that we are all chomping at the bit for it and that we wil all be upgrading our phones to 5G capable ones next week (or when ever Apple pull their finger out) or this year.

    If you don't regularly go into big cities then IMHO, the benefit is marginal. As we are all travelling a lot less these days then as far as I'm concerened, they can go to **** themselves. I sure as hell don't have the money to upgrade this year (or next for that matter)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Are we all waiting for 5G?

      Is 5G really about an apparent step up in phone utility? I think the premise is more about the 'things' in IoT talking to each other and phoning home either directly or piggy backing from thing to thing.

      Yes of course there is all the blarb about greater bandwidth and faster downloads but I think where the money is (in the dreams of the promoters) will be IoT and machine to machine networks.

      The fun bit is no-one as far as I have read, actually has anything that needs it yet and by the time they have, the marketing wonk will be bleating about the upcoming 6G.

      The US DoD are hoping that private telecomms are going to develop the systems so that the military can use it for large scale data transfer in battle domains, in other words they want us to pay for it so that they can use it.

      https://www.militaryaerospace.com/communications/article/14177558/5g-military-telecommunications

      I am quite happy with my (most of the time) 4G.

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Are we all waiting for 5G?

      No, I suspect most of us are not.

      That, the CPS noted, is a relatively moderate estimate. In a best-case scenario, the windfall could be as much as £52.6bn.

      I take it that is what carriers expect to make from new handsets and more expensive airtime contracts?

    3. Tempest
      Meh

      Re: Are we all waiting for 5G? If you don't regularly go into big cities then IMHO . . .

      Damn 5G has trouble operating IN buildings, let alone down the road.

      Remember 5G is a very generic term when it comes to defining what frequency it uses. The frequency bands for 5G networks come in a pair. Frequency band 1 (FR1) is between 450 MHz & 6 GHz, which includes the LTE band. Frequency band 2 (FR2) is between 24.25 GHz & 52.6 GHz.

      There is a chasm of difference between FR1 & FR2, both in technological design and operating terms.

  9. StephenTompsett

    Does anyone actually need 5G?

    Do you really need to download a movie in seconds?

  10. Commswonk

    Deja Vu...

    When this https://www.theregister.com/2020/09/09/huawei_report/ was the topic du jour I wrote:

    The UK has now been spending the last 6 months or so with "Working From Home" being very much the order of the day. How many business leaders have been reported as screaming that WFH has been an abject failure because of the lack of 5G? With many organisations seemingly content to allow WFH to continue almost indefinitely it seems to me that they must be satisfied that the country's IT provision is at least adequate. OK; there are doubtless many organisations for which WFH is not an option, but there is nothing to say that it is a lack of 5G is responsible for that.

    It is all too easy for someone (Assembly in this case) to come up with an unsubstantiated assertion such as they have, but that is probably because it is not necessarily easy to prove that the assertion is wrong.

    Sooner or later I hope someone comes up with a properly researched report into how well (or otherwise) the UK's IT infrastructure coped with a sudden increase in "domestic" traffic and its actual impact on business efficiency, along with a equally proper assessment of all the upsides and downsides of people not congregating in their offices so that future requirements are determined by facts rather than marketing or any other form of hype.

    Until then I will treat the hysteria about the lack of 5G (or even 4G in a lot of places) with increasing scepticism.

    OK; this time the subject is a little different but my view is the same. All these "billions" are, for want of a better term, vapourware.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Deja Vu...

      Most WFH problems seem to revolve around local Internet bandwidth:

      • Lots of people working from home showing up the contention ratios on domestic Internet connections
      • More people working from home using WiFi causing over-satuation use of the available shared WiFi bandwidth in an area - shared with neighbours, etc.
      • Other people in homes using the WiFi and Internet connection for continual Internet video streaming, greatly reducing the bandwidth for anything else

      None of which will be resolve in any by the mythical unicorn fart of 5G "benefits".

      1. Commswonk

        Re: Deja Vu...

        Most WFH problems seem to revolve around local Internet bandwidth:

        Seems a reasonable assessment!

        But where are all the employers' organisations screaming about poor connectivity? In the absence of such screaming it is not unreasonable to assume that they haven't identified it as a problem.

        Of course there are plenty of jobs that do not require saturation coverage of mind - bendingly fast internet, but of course in the brave new world they are probably not seen as mattering in any way.

        mythical unicorn fart of 5G "benefits" seems about right. :)

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Deja Vu...

          What I meant that is most people are working from home just fine with their residential broadband connections. When there are connection problems it's usually to do with the above.

  11. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Or Starlink

    Job done.

  12. Tempest
    Thumb Down

    Britain: Technology Leader? NOT

    Before the UK rushes off into an unknown 5G future, blindly following the Americans, it might be worthwhile fully penetrating the landscape with Fibre Optic infrastructure (needed for 5G base stations).

    5G is more a P.R. campaign, an illusion, that will frustrate more than satisfy users. Nothing is more frustrating that looking at an antenna and you your hand phone being unable to reach it.

    So many 'developing' countries have way higher penetration of 4G and Fibre than the UK, the government should be ashamed.

    As I write this I am in a hamlet of Bo-Y, population 270, on the Laos/VietNam (KonTum) border where 100 Mbyte Fibre service and 100% 4G service are available. In my No-Star hotel I can view streaming movies and any on-line TV station uninterrupted by technical glitches. The Spratly Islands, way off the mainland in the Eastern Sea (claimed by China), too, enjoy 4G and Fibre Optic service.

    If Christine Conder, of Lancashire, can build a profitable Fibre Optic network why not BT? (www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37974267)

    1. Commswonk

      Re: Britain: Technology Leader? NOT

      If Christine Conder, of Lancashire, can build a profitable Fibre Optic network why not BT?

      To be fair I am not certain that it is profitable yet, but give it time. And to be further fair much of the work has been / is being done by the end users themselves with no charge on the project. BT would probably love to have free labour on tap, but that ain't going to happen.

      FWIW I admire the B4RN enterprise greatly.

      Clarification: I am not a customer of B4RN

  13. stevebp

    My brain can't take it!?!?

    If I read one more report/news article/dire warning about how we're "falling behind" in technology, I swear I might just explode.

    All these efforts to worry us about 5G are just so that the operators, who paid £billions for the rights to the bandwidth and £billions to build the infrastructure, can make a profit (eventually).

    The Gov't needs to concern itself with ubiquitous 4G first and worry about 5G if, and it's a big if, the world determines it actually needs it.

    1. Caver_Dave
      Unhappy

      Re: My brain can't take it!?!?

      Arrr... but a lot of the 4G network runs on Huawei, so the vested interests can't let it survive.

  14. Chris Coles

    This was my email to ofcom.org.uk April 14th 2020

    Dear sirs,

    As the original inventor of the camera phone with GPS, US patents: 5,712,679 January 27 1998; 6,181,373 January 30 2001; 6,469,735 October 22 2002, Japan Patent: 2896930, (and others), all originating from an original UK patent office filing January 1989; and then having set out to create a Video911 service in the USA early 2001 and for three years having attended many wireless industry conferences throughout the USA and also in Europe; then having during that period had opened the debate on a new structure for the universe, publishing The Universe is a Cloud, Some Raw Food for Thought early 2002; followed that up in 2017 with The Universe is a Cloud of Surplus Proton Energy, (copies in major libraries, but not currently available as adding new chapters), which sets out a completely new electromagnetic structure for the proton - I feel I am able to add to the debate on the subject of the effects of waves of electromagnetism upon the human body.

    A proton is well known, (regardless of my own input to the debate), to be entirely comprised as a form of electromagnet entity. What seems to have been lost is that everything is formed from protons; not just the wires connecting a transmission aerial as a form of metal; your eyes reading this, your fingertips that touched the typeface of the keyboard; even the keyboard itself. Everything, the air you breath, the water you drink, the saliva on your tongue, your tongue itself, the grass you walk across, the bricks forming the walls of your home, the concrete from which your offices are constructed. Everything is constructed from tiny electromagnetic objects called a proton.

    When the likes of BT describe how their new 5G wireless modem can fill your home with such signals; passing through solid walls as though they are not there; as though invisible to the wireless signal; while that seems a true statement, in truth, each and every single wave of such energy, has to pass right through the electromagnetic attachments between each proton, in turn, directly affecting every one of those attachments, whether in a brick, solid concrete; or you.

    Close by me lives a friend who is still recovering from the removal of two massive tumours in his brain, which I am sure were caused by the effects of holding his wireless telephone against the side of his head, and that wireless telephone was designed at a much lower level of such effects, than the new 5G systems being deployed today.

    My home has no wifi, everything is connected with wires; I do not own, nor ever carry; any form of wireless telephone; why? because my own research, and deep understanding of the effects of such systems, has brought me to believe that, as the rise of energy levels, (and associated immense rise in frequencies), associated with the modern telecommunication industries, increase; they pose an ever greater danger to human health.

    Mention has been made of the BBC, both on your web pages as also in recent reports about OFFCOM. It is my profound belief that the BBC has become "captured" by outside corporate interests, to the direct detriment of an open debate about these effects. That the BBC is not presenting truly investigative journalism; but instead, the PR output of such major industries, and more besides; to the long term detriment of the stature of the BBC. That is a very sad state of affairs.

    Please note, I am not doing this to provoke any form of violence against such industries, or their installations; I am absolutely against any such action. What does concern me is that for many years now, it has been the order of the day to sweep knowledge of such effects under the proverbial carpet. But the longer that continues, the greater the long term backlash caused by such effects, becoming ever more visible to the general population.

    It is my belief that OFCOM should immediately set into motion a complete; and absolutely independent, investigation of the effects on the human body; while at one and the same time; advising a moratorium on any further installations. To enable such, OFCOM as well as the likes of the BBC, and others, are going to have to put to one side the negative inferences against those, such as Dr Joseph Mercola, who has recently published EMF*D 5G, Wi-Fi & Cell Phones: Hidden Harms and How to protect Yourself; that are highlighting their own understanding of what is occurring. (I have no commercial interest of any form with Dr. Mercola).

    It is my profound belief that there are immense dangers associated with the deployment of ever higher frequencies and energy levels of all wireless systems, and that these dangers must be recognised and appropriate actions taken to protect the general public.

    As you will see, I have copied this to my local BBC TV station.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dear sirs,

    further to my email to you 14th April, 2020 I now add the formal brief of Children's Health Defence to the United States Federal Communications Commission, FCC.

    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/Joint-Brief-7-29-20.pdf

    Again, I have no commercial interest of any form with Children's Health Defense.

    I repeat my final paragraphs of my earlier email to you:

    It is my belief that OFCOM should immediately set into motion a complete; and absolutely independent, investigation of the effects on the human body; while at one and the same time; advising a moratorium on any further installations. To enable such, OFCOM as well as the likes of the BBC, and others, are going to have to put to one side the negative inferences against those, such as Dr Joseph Mercola, who has recently published EMF*D 5G, Wi-Fi & Cell Phones: Hidden Harms and How to protect Yourself; that are highlighting their own understanding of what is occurring. (I have no commercial interest of any form with Dr. Mercola).

    It is my profound belief that there are immense dangers associated with the deployment of ever higher frequencies and energy levels of all wireless systems, and that these dangers must be recognised and appropriate actions taken to protect the general public.

    As you will see, I have copied this to my local BBC TV station.

    1. Dale 3

      Were you hoping to influence opinion? Because I was exhausted halfway through the first paragraph. Amanfrommars would be proud.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      I believe that in the UK, it is possible to study online for free or minimal cost, the nature of physics including that of particle physics as well as electromagnetism, possibly after studying physics you may wish to revise your comments.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Probably hard to do such study while simultaneously foaming at the mouth and attempting to hold a tin foil hat in place.

        Which is probably made further difficult while politely asking protons to encourage other particles to come to them.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5G is a CON.......

    ......played by all the operators on the very unsuspecting British Public. Its kind of become a punching bag for politicians, weekend football for the networks, to keep Joe public guessing and handset Mfrs busy in upselling 5G handsets for a country that has postage stamp sized 5G rollouts.

    No new towers/Antennae/masts (that 5G needs) are being built. This was confessed to me by a Three employee (hence they are selling all the SIM deals as "5G ready") Yeah, even I am 5G ready, but WTF, where is the signals and speeds? . Only the existing masts will /are being upgraded (at a snails pace - if that), just to keep OFCOM at arms length into probing this delay in implementation. Most networks are sitting on the purchased 5G spectrum for around 4 years ! They just dont have the appetite to invest to ACTUALLY implement 5G. Hell, they havent even fully exploited the benfits and potential of 4G all these years. What chance 5G in the near future.

    And Trump's shenanigans about Huawei have come in very handily & in a timely manner for the network wankers too, to further delay sensible rollouts. They also await goverment handouts to rip off Huawei gear. Shambles is an understatement. Criminals is a better word.

    As someone mentioned above, one gets better 4G in most Third world countries now than UK.

    A massive marketing con, thats it.

  16. David Hicklin

    Sponsored by...?

    Was that report sponsored by Huawei ?

  17. Danny 2 Silver badge

    More ironic than Alanis Morissette ever was

    My rich pal in his big house has terrible access to both phone and internet bandwidth, yet my poor neighbours can't afford to pay for the great coverage they can have.

    I still don't think the tax payer should splurge on rural access, if the rich want better coverage then they can move back to the cities. Or pay for their own optical cable.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: More ironic than Alanis Morissette ever was

      On the other hand, in the past, such opinions led to many villages not having mains electricity or gas.

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