Premises covered by all U.K. operators with 5G technology reached 12-22% at end-January, Ofcom said
U.K. telecom regulator Ofcom has published a new update of its “Connection Nations 2022” report, which reveals that the number of homes able to get gigabit-capable broadband is up to almost 21.9 million, representing 73% of all U.K. homes, up from 20.8 million since the September 2022 update.
The Ofcom report provides a general summary of broadband and mobile network availability and data usage from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Ofcom reported that “superfast broadband coverage across the U.K. overall remains at 97%, but with Northern Ireland seeing an increase of almost two percentage points in superfast coverage.” The regulator noted that Scotland and Wales have both benefitted from an increase of a percentage point since September last year.
The regulator highlighted that the U.K. government aims to get gigabit broadband to at least 85% of premises by 2025 and over 99% by 2030. “While in the majority of the U.K. telecoms operators are expected to deliver gigabit broadband on a commercial basis, public schemes play an important part in connecting more remote, rural premises. The U.K. government is investing £5 billion ($6.23 billion) to level up hard-to-reach premises,” Ofcom said.
“Mobile coverage remains stable and operators continue to roll out coverage to new areas through the Shared Rural Network (SRN) scheme, agreed with the U.K. government in 2020. As a result, nationwide coverage is set to increase in the coming years,” Ofcom said.
According to the report, coverage of 4G mobile networks across the U.K. has not seen significant changes over the last reporting periods. Around 92% of the U.K. landmass is predicted to have good outdoor 4G coverage from at least one operator, and this area includes nearly all of the premises in the U.K. This is expected to rise to 95% by end of 2025 as a result of the SRN, Ofcom said.
The report also showed an improvement in terms of 5G coverage nationwide, as the coverage from at least one mobile operator ranged from 73% to 82% of premises outdoors at the end of January, up from 67% and 78% respectively compared to the September 2022.
Meanwhile, premises covered by all U.K. operators with 5G technology reached 12-22% at end-January, up from 11-20%
In March, Ofcom confirmed that it will make millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum across the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands available for new mobile technologies, including 5G services.
The regulator noted that the award of this new spectrum could deliver significant benefits by enabling large wireless data capacity and speeds. It can be used to improve mobile services and deliver innovative new services across the U.K., Ofcom said.
Ofcom also said that the new spectrum will allow mobile operators to boost mobile services in locations and venues with a lot of mobile users, such as train stations, football stadiums and concerts.
Ofcom said it expects to receive responses to the consultation by May 22.
In May 2021, the U.K. completed its most recent 5G spectrum auction, raising a total of £ 1.35 billion (currently $1.68 billion).