West Midlands 5G awards O2 contract to launch UK’s first 5G accelerators
West Midlands 5G (WM5G) Limited has awarded a major contract to a consortium led by Telefonica UK (O2) to build 5G accelerators in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry.
Additional consortium members include Deloitte, Wayra and Digital Catapult.
WM5G is delivering the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed, backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, recently hosted a webinar during which WM5G, its consortium members and businesses from the region shared an exciting vision for a 5G future.
The event will be followed by the launch of two more accelerators in Wolverhampton and Coventry later this year. All three facilities will be branded as 5PRING.
The three 5G accelerator facilities will comprise of centrally-located office and demonstration spaces with access to 5G technology, both indoors and outdoors, extending several kilometres.
Each venue will have access to private 5G networks – enabling businesses and public sector organisations to experiment with 5G features that aren’t yet commercially released.
This will be combined with the latest devices, professional advice and technical support. By using the 5G accelerators, businesses and public sector organisations will be able to experience a live 5G network, discover the benefits that 5G can bring to their organisation and work with innovators to take advantage of 5G through new applications and services.
At least 2,000 private sector businesses and public sector organisations from across the West Midlands and beyond will be able to benefit from using the 5G accelerators over the next five years. WM5G and its consortium members are reviewing the precise nature of how they will launch these 5G accelerator facilities to businesses – including remote access options – in-line with the Government’s advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and more information will follow shortly.
Unlike 5G R&D facilities, the 5G accelerators will be designed specifically to attract businesses and entrepreneurs to solve major problems and opportunities that can be commercially scaled, when proven. Many events and engagement activities run at the 5G accelerators will be sponsored by technology companies or other major businesses, so that SMEs and other organisations can participate for free.
The O2-led consortium is more than matching the public sector funding provided by WM5G to launch these facilities.
Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, added: “Through the 5G accelerators that we’re launching in partnership with O2 and its consortium, our region is in prime position to lead the next industrial revolution.”
Jane Whitlock, Practice Senior Partner for Deloitte in the Midlands, added: “The 5G accelerators are pivotal to the project’s success and we are excited to be part of the consortium that is leading the way in 5G innovation.”