5G infrastructure: Telcos ‘need to work together’

SURE has become the first Telco network to launch a public trial of 5G in Jersey, and CEO Graham Hughes has called again for mobile operators to work together in building the infrastructure for the new technology.

Graham Hughes, Chief Executive of Sure Jersey (a telecoms company)                                                            Picture: ROB CURRIE (26390294)
Graham Hughes, Chief Executive of Sure Jersey (a telecoms company) Picture: ROB CURRIE (26390294)

Selected businesses and residents around the Minden Street area of St Helier started receiving letters on 19th November, inviting them to take part in the trial. Those who want to be included will be given a free WiFi router which has a 5G SIM in it for their home or business. They will then be asked to provide feedback on the service so that Sure can best tailor its future 5G network for the needs of the Island and consumers.

Sure are hoping local businesses will embrace the trial. For example, a small building company where fibre may not be available on a construction site, or available at commercial rates, could run off the 5G service. Portability will be one of the key benefits and this could also play a role in general business continuity. A firm could literally move their operation elsewhere if required.

‘We believe we are the first to have launched what I call a production trial. We are talking to other providers, we are talking to CICRA,’ said Mr Hughes.

‘We need to collaborate. We’ve seen Jersey and the other islands build multiple networks (for 4G etc) and really now we have to be mature enough to start working collaboratively, and that will be with the support of people like Tony Moretta at Digital Jersey, the Planning Department and government. There’s been no mandate to say we must do this, but sensibly we need to work together.’

Mr Moretta, chief executive of Digital Jersey, said: ‘Digital Jersey is delighted to support Sure in this 5G pilot. While people in Jersey already benefit from some of the best mobile and broadband infrastructure in the world, it sends a strong message internationally that we are determined to exploit new opportunities as they come along. We are already working with businesses to help them improve productivity through technology, including artificial intelligence and automation, so a home-grown trial of the potential 5G affords Jersey is a timely additional tool in our tech armoury.’

The Sure 5G trial is set to run for three or four months and CICRA will shortly be launching a consultation to decide on frequencies and a roll-out strategy. There are no consumer handsets compatible with 5G in production yet, so it is not expected that we will see a wider roll-out of the technology for at least another year or two.

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