Reduced latency (delay before data transfer) will make 5G wireless technology transformative for a number of industries. However, the UK rollout is suffering latency issues of its own.

Huawei is the leading supplier of 5G equipment. It has been widely publicised that Donald Trump is no fan of Huawei. American firms are now barred from using telecoms equipment firms that pose “a risk to national security”. The US Commerce Department has since added Huawei to a list of overseas firms American companies cannot do business with unless they have official permission. Although China continues to urge the UK to involve Huawei in building the 5G communications network, the increased political risk is likely to cause delays.

The latest issue for 5G, believe it or not, is with lamp posts. While much of today’s data is delivered via macrocells or cell towers serving a 40-mile radius, 5G will only be able to travel short unobstructed distances. This has made lamp posts hot property with mobile network operators competing for access for microcells installations. 

In 2018, Verizon Wireless struck a deal with the city of Los Angeles to see the successful installation of fibre optic cable and microcells into lamp posts, in exchange for a package of amenities and services. EE is first to launch the 5G service in the UK. However, the UK is at risk of seeing a delay in widespread 5G deployment due to the sheer number of requests and disputes from mobile network operators wishing to access and install transmitters on UK lamp posts.

Despite these delays, the 5G network will provide for tomorrow’s technology and as widespread 5G coverage grows, we expect to see an imminent increase of investment into infrastructure to allow for the rollout in its entirety. IoT and edge computing businesses can also expect significant investor interest as they become more pertinent to the service’s growth, as well as emerging IoT segments such as healthcare, automotive and industrials. Meanwhile, the middlemen, multi-service connectivity providers, will need to bridge the gap between the networks. It’s safe to say 5G will be keeping people busy, if not just on their phones.