Arqiva buys 5G licence for UK trials

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Arqiva will use 28GHz spectrum licence bought from Luminet to launch UK's first FWA field trial

5G 160x186Arqiva has snapped up a licence for the 28GHz spectrum band from managed services provider Luminet, as it looks to trial 5G technologies in the UK.

The license for 2x 112MHz of bandwidth covers central and greater London, and will give Arqiva access to a spectrum band which is expected to play a key role in future 5G deployments.

Arqiva provides infrastructure and broadcast transmission facilities in the United Kingdom and Ireland, while Luminet offers managed services and wholesale for UK connectivity.

The 28GHz band has already been used as the standard band for 5G trials in a number of countries, including the US, Japan, and South Korea, while it has also been earmarked for UK regulator Ofcom for future deployments in the country. It is expected to be used in fixed wireless access (FWA) solutions.

Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Telecoms and M2M at Arqiva, commented: “5G connectivity is a highly debated topic, especially with regards to what it will deliver and by when. However, the FWA component is set for a head start thanks to the drive from major global fixed line and mobile operators as both a substitute and a companion to traditional fibre services. 3GPP certification is critical to achieving global acceptance.”

Standards body the 3GPP is expected to unveil the new standards for 5G in March 2018, two years ahead of the original schedule. A number of early pre-5G trials have been held in the US and Asia, but a number of industry bodies have warned that Europe is in danger of lagging behind. 

“5G FWA is an exciting opportunity to deliver true ultrafast broadband above 500Mbps to millions of households; this is especially relevant in the UK where so few households are connected by fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). FWA has the ability to become a truly alternative technology to deliver fibre-like services.

“In purchasing this additional licence we are able to further our ambitions in this area, standing ourselves in good stead to deliver a compelling 5G FWA wholesale service to UK mobile and fixed operators across the country, and with even more capacity in Greater London.”

Arqiva said it will partner with Samsung to conduct the UK’s first 5G FWA field trial in London during the next few months.

The spectrum license was acquired from Luminet, who said it was a strategic business decision that will allow it to enhance its focus on wholesale.

Sasha Williamson, CEO, Luminet, said: “The advent of 5G is set to be one of the most exciting digital developments of the decade, and we will be following Arqiva’s trial with interest.

“Divesting the spectrum was a strategic business decision for Luminet as we continue to build on our existing 400Sqkm London network and enhance our focus on wholesale for our intelligent GB connectivity and computing services.”