The future is coming fast for the United Kingdom. According to the latest reports, Samsung and telecommunications firm Arqiva will be debuting 5G mobile internet to the U.K. in the second half of this year. A partnership between these two companies will bring 5G trials to central London in hopes of determining whether this technology could replace fiber optic broadband beginning in 2020.
The hope, IBTimes reports, is to determine the feasibility of a future “where residential and commercial properties connect to a super-fast internet connection wirelessly over 5G, as smartphones do with 4G today.” Today, most of these connections are made through a fixed fiber optic cable. Not only is this a slower option, but it also requires significant time and resources to install new cables as businesses and populations grow. But with 5G, homes and businesses could simply buy a router and get online.
“5G will be a crucial pillar of the U.K.’s economy in the 2020s. The smarter network infrastructure and an enhanced ability to support exponential scale for connectivity will open the doors to further applications across a variety of markets such internet-of-things, industrial applications, and the full promise of autonomous vehicles,” Arqiva chief executive Simon Beresford-Wylie told IBTimes.
So why are these tests being conducted in the U.K.? According to Thomas Riedel, head of Samsung Networks Europe, “There is so much opportunity in the region due to the diversity of markets and services already in place here, and we think the U.K. is a prime candidate to show off the benefits that 5G can bring to consumers here.”
The nation itself is also investing plenty of capital in connectivity. As Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, noted, “The government wants the U.K. to be a world leader in 5G and we’re already laying the foundations for a successful launch. We are investing [$1.25 billion] to boost the U.K.’s digital infrastructure and support 5G trials, and will shortly be publishing our 5G strategy.”
Of course, Samsung isn’t ignoring the U.S. either. In a news release earlier this week, the company announced that it would be working with Verizon to offer 5G access stateside as well. Customer trials are set to being in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington, D.C., in April, and fifth location in Michigan will begin its own trials later in the year. Verizon noted it would “begin offering 5G to pilot customers during the first half of 2017 in the following metropolitan areas: Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Bernardsville (NJ), Brockton (MA), Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.”
“We are excited to deliver the first end-to-end 5G connectivity in the United States with Verizon,” said Youngky Kim, president and head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “This represents a major leap forward in offering 5G fixed wireless access to consumers. The 5G challenges we will address, and the customer feedback we receive will help lay the foundation for future business models and customer applications.”
Article originally published 02-24-2017. Updated on 02-25-2017: Added news of 5G testing in U.S. cities as a joint effort between Samsung and Verizon.