Government makes law changes to speed up 5G rollout

23 July 2020

5G coverage

The government has decided to make changes to the law to give the UK the mobile infrastructure it needs to rollout 5G faster and to more areas.

They plan to reform previous planning laws to make it easier for the industry to build more 5G masts and help bring faster connectivity to rural areas.

The changes to the planning laws will make the UK’s 5G rollout easier and faster than ever. Here’s some of what the reforms will now allow:

  • Mobile providers can put more equipment on masts, making it possible to share mobile masts and boost 5G coverage
  • New masts can be built taller to deliver better coverage
  • Existing phone masts can be strengthened to enable 5G
  • Building-based masts can be placed closer to highways to support coverage of road networks
  • Cabinets containing radio equipment to be deployed alongside masts

Before going ahead and making these changes to the law, the government will carry out a technical consultation. This is to ensure environmental protection and other safeguards remain in place, minimizing the impact of 5G deployment.

Plans to extend mobile coverage

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said, “We’re taking forward plans to extend mobile coverage, particularly for those in rural areas, so everyone can benefit from the latest technology and the jobs, opportunities and growth that comes with this.”

These law reforms will make the £1 billion deal the government made in March much more achievable. The deal saw the four main UK mobile operators sign a legally binding commitment to collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of 2025. Therefore, these relaxed laws will make it easier than ever to rollout 5G.

Speedy recovery

Last week, UK mobile networks were banned from buying Huawei 5G equipment by the end of 2020. This development means that Huawei’s 5G kit will be completely removed from mobile networks by 2027. Mobile operators have quite the task to now remove and replace any of Huawei’s equipment they have used to build their 5G networks thus far.

This has pushed back the UK’s 5G rollout by 2 or 3 years. Therefore, these new government rules might help mobile networks to recover and rollout 5G faster, despite the fact they can no longer use Huawei’s equipment.

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