The UK's first 5G trials, with a focus on fixed wireless access, are set to begin during the second half of this year, thanks to a partnership between Samsung and telecommunications company Arqiva.
The trial is set to take place in London (of course), with a 5G fixed wireless access network launching across the centre of the city. The idea is to showcase 5G's potential, and showcase mobile broadband as a viable alternative to the fibre networks that run up and down the UK.
The trial network will utilise the 28GHz portion of the spectrum (licensed by Arqiva), in coordination with Samsung's own 5G access units. Those units will transmit the broadband to receivers in nearby homes using ultra-high bandwidth connectivity. Presumably the combination of those two devices are designed to avoid any awkward signal hickups, given how local geography can play a big part in how much (or how little) mobile signal people can get.
Samsung's partnership with Arqiva isn't just about using its spectrum either. Arqiva operates a ridiculous amount of broadcasting sites across the UK, and Samsung will be able to access Arqiva's London-based mobile sites and lamposts to install the 5G Access Units.
According to Samsung the units are designed for quick and easy deployment, while the commercial receivers are designed to get people online within a few minutes. You can't fault how convenient this sounds, and it should mean that any faults to the infrastructure can be sorted out much faster than we're accustomed to.
Because the spectrum being used is over 6GHz, and suffers from far less congestion, Samsung will be offering gigabit speeds during the trial. Better still, being a mobile system, the whole network is capable of providing gigabit speeds to more people in less time than it would take to lay out the existing fibre-to-the-home connections.
5G has been promised to us for quite some time now, with estimates that we'll be able to take advantage of the faster speeds by the year 2020. While we don't have a set timeframe for Samsung's trial just yet, it's one step closer to bringing the UK's broadband infrastructure into the future. Both companies also believe that the UK is the obvious starting point for rolling out 5G across Europe. No doubt government plans to invest £1 billion into improving digital infrastructure make us far more appealing.