5G arrived at UK train hubs, but what about lack of 4G?

Here is an obvious statement— infrastructure in the UK is enough to make you despair. And for those of us who commute, isn’t the lack of internet connection beyond frustrating? Now EE has announced that it’s 5G network has been switched on in major transport hubs, which is good news indeed if you have a 5G enabled phone. But what about the rest of us, still having to wander around train stations, trying to find that point where 4G works.

That’s a criticism you hear all the time. ‘5G sounds great, but can’t we just fix 4G first?’.

Of course, part of the answer is 5G itself. The technology is far superior to 4G in handling situations in which large numbers of people try to go online at the same time.

The EE 5G service applies to railway stations including London Waterloo, Liverpool Street Station, and Charing Cross. You can see how 5G offers a key benefit. Railway stations are crowded places, as throngs of people try to log on simultaneously, 4G can throw its hands up in the air and say ‘sorry, no can do.’ At least it would if it could talk.

So, 5G can solve that problem — check.

5G will also be fundamental to supporting the internet of things — check.

But what about when our sorry commuter, moves on from the railway station and onto the train — internet connection, whether it is 5G, 4G or 3G, intermittent at best.

That’s the frustration many people feel. ‘Can’t we fix what we have, before we create something better?”

The road to making 5G a reality in the UK – and the revenue opportunities

Tim Sherwood, vice president, mobility and IoT at Tata Communications, says that there is no doubt about it, 5G is coming

Well, 5G might well be the most cost-effective way of doing this, but as Ingo Flomer, CTO at Cobham Wireless, pointed out: “5G will undoubtedly unlock a range of exciting new consumer and business use cases. However, there aren’t many 5G handsets available and in use today. Commuters still rely on 4G to access work emails or enjoy video streaming while on the move.

“Getting reliable 4G mobile coverage is still a challenge for commuters on lots of the UK’s most popular rail routes, as well as in stations, but it needn’t be such a hurdle.”

“There will come a time when blanket 5G coverage is needed. Now, however, it is important to deliver adequate 4G mobile coverage to guarantee the quality of service for consumers, and support business and operator growth in all areas in the UK.”


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Michael Baxter

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UK