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Scotland 5G Centre turns to Vodafone for 5G networks to support economic growth

Leading UK operator designs and deploys two new 5G mobile private network deployments in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock to support the digitisation and diversification of local economies

As it ramps up its mission to demonstrate and deliver the benefits of next-generation mobile networks across the country, the Scotland 5G Centre has announced it has turned to Vodafone to deliver two new 5G mobile private networks to develop use cases and accelerate the adoption of 5G technology across industry.

The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) was set up in October 2019 as the national hub for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising economic and societal potential. It is a partnership between the University of Strathclyde – which hosts the centre – the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Futures Trust.

The S5GC is intended to enable all types of business to reap the benefits of next-generation network technology. It will allow businesses of all sizes and stages to visit the hubs and experience 5G first-hand. Live test beds opening across the regions will allow the S5GConnect programme to accelerate the adoption of 5G across the country, with advanced digital connectivity supporting new opportunities and economic progress through innovation. S5GC is also committed to introducing new ways of connecting people and places to support the levelling up of the digital divide.

The 5G MPNs will be located in the Scotland 5G Centre’s Aberdeen and Halo Kilmarnock innovation hubs. These locations were first announced in March 2022 and will offer a scaled down and isolated data network, offering 5G data services and helping business customers deliver new applications and services using Vodafone 5G connectivity. Specialist staff will help companies to develop, prototype and test real-world, 5G-powered applications and use cases.

Vodafone will install dedicated, secure core infrastructure as well as a radio access network that covers the customers’ in-building and/or outdoor coverage requirements. The network is only accessible by devices and machines the customer allows, and it’s private in the sense that it’s isolated from the general public.

By identifying issues faced by local businesses, Vodafone and the Scotland 5G Centre said they will spur growth in the regions and build use cases that go beyond the “proof of concept” stage. They added that the insights from local businesses will help the Scotland 5G Centre to identify any gaps in skills or infrastructure to support the adoption of emerging technologies. From commission to switch on, the two 5G MPNs were delivered by Vodafone in less than eight weeks.

In Aberdeen, the 5G MPN will power the One Tech Hub initiative, a co-working space for entrepreneurs, established businesses and regional startups to drive digitisation and economic diversification in North East Scotland. A particular area of focus will be how new connectivity and digital services can support the energy, renewables and utilities sector, a major employer in the area. At the Kilmarnock site, the 5G MPN will power the Halo Enterprise and Innovation Centre, a regeneration initiative to revitalise urban cities and towns in a collaboration between education and enterprise.

Read more about 5G in Scotland

Commenting on the partnership, Vodafone UK regional director Kim Moran-Hogg said: “We are working with the Scotland 5G Centre to help open up new opportunities for Scottish businesses.

“By combining our connectivity with local knowledge of the businesses and industries, we can help the Scottish economy to benefit from a 5G-connected world. This partnership is about understanding the problems that local businesses face and developing cutting-edge solutions together. 5G will power the future of Scotland’s economy, and help us build an inclusive and sustainable digital society.”

Lara Moloney, head of the S5GConnect programme at the Scotland 5G Centre, added: “We are extremely excited to work with Vodafone at these two additional locations as part of our network of innovation hubs across Scotland.

“Working together to provide 5G access, market education and insight for digital infrastructure and its potential ROI for industry offers a competitive advantage to organisations that utilise these unique and high-quality services. We are looking forward to supporting ambitious businesses on their 5G journey as we continue to evolve the 5G ecosystem for the benefit of Scottish citizens and the economy.”

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