UK could be leader in 5G technology

The UK could be a leader in the development of the 5G network if it is fast in implementing technology and standards, says MP David Willetts

The UK could be a leader in the development of 5G networks if it is fast in implementing technology and standards, according to Conservative MP and former minister David Willetts.

A debate on the future of 5G concluded the future network should not only accommodate existing systems, but also expand to incorporate the internet of things, an increase in devices and large amounts of data.

Willetts said the UK has the potential to be a crucial player in 5G if it is involves itself in standards and R&D, and creates networked groups to develop the technology.

Chinese firms are already working closely with the UK to set standards for the future of the network, Willetts said.

Last year, Chinese information and communications technology firm Huawei announced it will invest at least $600m in research and development (R&D) for 5G technologies by 2018.

According to Willetts, 5G will make the internet of things possible, as well as provide a continuous connection between devices rather than person-to-person connections often seen today.

Earlier this year, Ed Ellis, responsible for network strategy and forecasting at EE, predicted that 5G will change the way consumers use their mobile devices and process data.

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But Willetts says investment like this does not come without risks. He said that with the growing amount of data passed across networks, people's anxiety around privacy will increase.

Willetts said: "It's far better if the industry can, early on, drive the standards for protocols that will properly protect privacy."

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