Last reviewed 21 September 2021

Mobile network operators will get easier access to bus shelters, lampposts and other street furniture to speed up the roll out of next-generation, ultrafast 5G technology under a new government trial.

A newly launched £4 million competition will explore ways to make it simpler and quicker for mobile companies to use publicly owned buildings and pavement infrastructure - such as CCTV poles and traffic signals - to host 5G radio equipment.

The Government is aware that network operators frequently find it difficult to acquire the information needed to verify that a structure is suitable, such as its location, physical dimensions, proximity to the street or access to a power source. It will accordingly invest in piloting the latest innovations in digital asset management platforms.

The aim is to enable local councils to more easily share the data that mobile companies need to accelerate their roll out plans to help deliver the revolutionary benefits of 5G to people and businesses.

5G is the next generation of mobile internet connection and offers download speeds up to 100 times that of 4G, making mobile phones much faster and able to process ever larger amounts of data.

Hamish MacLeod, Director of Mobile UK, said: “Mobile networks are critical to the UK’s economic recovery yet deploying infrastructure on public assets has often proved difficult. We welcome this competition aimed at breaking down these barriers and accelerating investment in 5G by piloting new digital platforms that bring together public bodies and mobile operators to make public-owned infrastructure more easily accessible.”