Cameron: 5G networks will download movies in a second

The prime minister announces Anglo-German partnership to deliver next-generation mobile networks

Barry Collins
10 Mar 2014

David Cameron has announced a partnership between British and German universities, which he claims will deliver 5G networks capable of downloading a movie in only a second.

The prime minister was speaking at CeBIT, Europe's biggest technology show, at the invitation of German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

As well as announcing the 5G partnership, the prime minister said the UK would today announce a new spectrum strategy, which will drive forward the so-called "Internet of Things".

Next-gen mobile

Three British and German universities will work together to develop 5G technology: the University of Dresden, King’s College University in London and the University of Surrey.

No government money appears to be being spent on the partnership, nor did the prime minister reveal any more details about what this fifth-generation technology consists of, short of announcing that download times for an 800MB movie would be "cut to one second".

The prime minister said he wanted to work with Germany "to pool ideas, share data, innovate, [and] to lead on the next big ideas".

Making better use of white space

Cameron also revealed more details of the Spectrum Strategy that is due to be announced today by Ofcom.

"We aim to double the economic benefits of spectrum to UK companies and consumers from roughly £50 billion today, to £100 billion in 2025," the prime minister said.

"We’ll do this by allowing new applications to come online, new kinds of mobile technologies to be used, more data usage to be enjoyed and greater broadcasting services to be made available."

The prime minister said he wanted the Internet of Things to move "from a slogan to a fact," and so had tasked the government's chief scientific adviser to explore the area, with £73 million of public money pumped into research.

"These are developments that could allow literally billions of everyday objects to talk to each other over the internet – using low-cost, low-power chips," the prime minister claimed.

"This has enormous potential to change our lives. Electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals. Health monitors that keep an eye on your heart rate. Water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure. And yes, even a fridge that can order you milk when it notices you are getting low."

Read more about: