The government aims to provide mobile coverage in a railway line connecting Leeds and Manchester

The U.K government has launched a process to attract interested firms for the deployment of 5G connectivity on a local railway line.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that firms interested in taking part in a new 5G project on the Trans Pennine Railway line between Leeds and Manchester are invited to send expressions of interest before 14 September 2018.

This process will provide the U.K. government with information necessary to assist in the trial and to identify any constraints and concerns identified by potential participating firms.

This new initiative is part of the government’s exploration of what 5G technology could bring to the transport sector.

The Trans Pennine Initiative (TPI), part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse plans, aims to test ways of providing high-quality connectivity to trains using trackside infrastructure, including addressing issues related to access, processes and costs. The U.K. government’s ambition is to have the main line rail routes offering uninterrupted mobile coverage and guaranteed Wi-Fi services.

“The importance of fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity on our rail network is only going to increase. Projects like the Trans Pennine Initiative will be instrumental in delivering this for passengers, and are all part of our commitment to make the UK a world leader in 5G,” Minister for Digital Margot James said.

The government also said that companies selected to take part in the trial will be given the opportunity to:

-Deploy their trial radio equipment on the TPI pilot route without the need to invest in trackside infrastructure,

-Benefit from financial support for installation activities on the TPI pilot route,

-Demonstrate the viability of their products in a live environment with a wide demographic of passengers, including business commuters, day trippers and long distance travelers. This will allow for testing of capacity, coverage and security.

-Make use of a new 5G facility at Melton Mowbray where technologies can be tested.

U.K carrier speed up 5G trials

Vodafone recently announced plans to carry out 5G trials in seven cities across the U.K during the last quarter of 2018. The telco said the 5G trials will take place in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. The trials are set to begin between October and December 2018. Vodafone said that a group of engineers are currently working to deploy 5G trial networks in at least 40 sites across these cities.

Meanwhile, the U.K’s largest mobile carrier, EE, plans to launch what it claims to be the U.K.’s first live 5G trial network in East London in October.

Under the 5G trial, EE will connect 10 sites around East London in areas including City Road, Old Street, Hoxton Square, St Paul’s and Chiswell Street. Five small businesses and five homes will be connected to 5G, using prototype 5G broadband devices.

Earlier this year, U.K. telcos had obtained spectrum for the future provision of 5G services. Vodafone won 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band after paying £378 million ($498 million).

BT-owned EE won 40 megahertz for which it paid £303 million. Three secured 20 megahertz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £151.3 million, while Telefónica-owned O2 picked up 40 megahertz for £318m.

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