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Consortium develops software to support planning for 5G


Mark Say Managing Editor

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A team led by the University of Oxford is developing a software platform to support organisations in making decisions around 5G investments.

The Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) – which includes academic, government and private sector organisations – has begun to run pilots of a platform that could be used by governments in their planning to harness the new mobile communications networks.

A spokesperson said it is planning to launch alpha testing during the summer, partly with the aim of helping governments that need quantified intelligence for business decisions but do not have the same resources as major telecoms providers.

The software could also help start-ups and other small players in the digital ecosystem.

It uses a range of data including population forecasts, system capacities, network coverage and budget constraints to examine how different strategies for implementation could look. The outcomes can be used to inform decision making by governments.

Dr Edward Oughton (pictured) of the ITRC said currently there is limited knowledge and understanding of the financial impacts of the roll out of different 5G infrastructure strategies.

“Currently it’s very difficult to quantify the performance of different digital infrastructure strategies for either 5G or rolling out fibre-to-the-premises,” he said.

“The platform we are testing allows different strategies to be compared in terms of capacity, coverage and cost, allowing industry and government to take better informed decisions. Uniquely, this model has a graphical user interface which means it can be used by non-technical users, unlike the limited number of engineering models that exist.”

He added: “Countries cannot afford to undertake poor decision making when it comes to digital infrastructure as billions of dollars are being invested globally every year.”

A pilot has already been run by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to analyse the capacity, coverage and cost of 5G infrastructure strategies for the Netherlands.

The project has been funded as part of the £5.5 million ITRC Mistral programme.

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