5G Create trials to utilise Open RAN

The UK Government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme has announced the latest projects to receive funding for innovative new uses of 5G, following the 5G Create competition. In total, £28.3 million joint investment between government and business will power nine projects aiming to test how the country can seize the full benefits of 5G and help British industries capitalise on the power of modern technology.

Over half of the successful schemes will utilise Open RAN technology: an alternative way of building telecoms networks that allows for greater interoperability of radio equipment between vendors and will give network operators more choice and flexibility as they roll out 5G infrastructure. Open RAN was identified as a crucial element in the 2020 5G supply chain diversification strategy, and a key theme in techUK’s Diversifying Telecoms event series.

Among the projects, two will focus specifically on the future connectivity options for the UK’s ports and the logistics sector: 5G Ports in Felixstowe will enable remote-controlled cranes via the transmission of CCTV, as well as optimise the predictive maintenance cycle through IoT sensors and AI. In Bristol, 5G Logistics will employ Open RAN network architecture to create a “smart and dynamic” port environment, using 5G to improve the security, traceability, and tracking of goods within and across extendable virtual boundaries – and between public and private networks.

Boosting productivity in construction will be trialled in Shetland and Kilsyth by 5G AMC 2, and the tourism and sporting trials include enhancing the visitor experience at Cornwall’s Eden Project, automated mobility for spectators at the MK Dons stadium, an immersive yacht racing experience on the Isle of Wight and Project Vista at London’s O2 Arena. Broadcast tech is also set to benefit from the advanced connectivity of 5G: Sir David Attenborough will front an immersive AR experience via the Green Planet, and documentary filmmaking in extreme locations will be enabled by 5G in Live and Wild across Yorkshire Dales and North Wales.

Details of the nine 5G Create projects are listed below:

Milton Keynes 5G (MK5G) - Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council and its partners will test out 5G applications at Stadium MK, home of MK Dons, to illustrate how it can empower other major venues to boost efficiency and create better experiences for visitors and staff in the future.

Eden Universe (OpenRAN) - South Cornwall

The Eden Project in Cornwall will explore how 5G and 360 degree video cameras can enhance the visitor experience.

Connected Cowes (OpenRAN) - Isle of Wight

The Connected Cowes project is looking at how 5G technology can create an immersive yacht racing experience for the sailing community and spectators in Cowes and online, and to widen the audience and appeal of the sport.

5G AMC 2 (OpenRAN) - Shetland and Kilsyth

5G AMC 2 (Accelerate, Maximise and Create for Construction) seeks to explore how 5G can enable the use of data to maximise productivity of construction processes.

Live and Wild: Filming with 5G (OpenRAN) - North East

A series of real and challenging filming scenarios to test 5G’s capacity to support the needs of the documentary film industry in the UK.

Project Vista - London

This project will take full advantage of 5G to deliver new and exciting in-stadium digital experiences.

The Green Planet AR - London & South West

The project will demonstrate additional ways that 5G benefits the public by creating a ground-breaking and entertaining augmented reality (AR) app for mobile phones.

5G Ports - Port of Felixstowe - Suffolk

 Harnessing the speed, low-latency and high-capacity of 5G, the project will demonstrate the productivity and efficiency gains of 5G technology, IoT sensors and AI, whilst reducing unplanned outage.

5G Logistics (OpenRAN) - Bristol

The West of England Combined Authority’s 5G Logistics project programme will develop 5G products and services to support operations at Bristol Port and Gravity Smart Campus and demonstrate a smart and dynamic port environment.


Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK