O2's COO: Harnessing the transformative potential of 5G

Last week, I spoke at the ‘5G and Extended Reality Showcase’ event as part of London Tech Week.

Some of the conversation was about the consumer benefits of 5G, which we have already heard lots about. High definition video downloaded in seconds rather than minutes, online gaming benefiting from super-low latency and the opening up of emerging technologies such as augmented reality. There’s no doubt that these are all exciting prospects.

For consumers, 5G will mainly supplement 4G networks than replace them, radically improving capacity and reliability. 4G will remain the backbone of our network for today and many years to come, and we will continue to invest heavily in its infrastructure.

The bigger opportunity for 5G is how it can transform businesses and organisations right across the UK. The technology will undoubtedly revolutionise every sector it touches, from transport to energy grids, from manufacturing to healthcare, from education to entertainment.

Through our work with testbeds and trials such as the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Millbrook Proving Ground we’re starting to see the positive effects that 5G can have on manufacturing and connected & autonomous vehicles.

Our call out to the FTSE 100 in July 2018 has led to leading UK businesses as well as some of our large customers – across the construction, retail, transport and utility sectors partnering with us to explore innovative 5G use cases ranging from private networks to asset management and tracking.

And to ensure we’re not just working with large businesses we’re creating 5G innovation spaces across the UK including in our Wayra start-up accelerator academies to provide 5G test environments for ideas that we haven’t yet thought of.

The 5G vision however, will not be achieved without collaboration. We need to develop an ecosystem where mobile operators, business partners, customers, government and local authorities work together to ultimately deliver the benefits that 5G promises.

Our ambition in the UK is to build a true 5G Economy. Working with a range of partners to help shape the use cases will ensure that we all benefit from 5G.

If we get this right, 5G could ultimately have a bigger impact on the way we live than any new technology since the introduction of electricity.

This week I’ll be speaking at Connected Britain about technology, strategy and investment for next generation connectivity.