Ericsson Says UK Telecom Rules Are Slowing 5G, Driving Up Costs


Swedish telecom giant Ericsson said the United Kingdom could lose out on the newest fifth-generation (5G) wireless network because of government rules that are making it expensive and inefficient to install, Bloomberg News reported.

“Decisive action is needed, uncertainty is not good for business and it could delay the roll-out of the U.K.’s 5G network, putting the country’s long-term competitiveness at risk,” Arun Bansal, head of the wireless equipment supplier’s European and Latin American operations told the news service. “The U.K. was late in adopting 4G and largely missed the economic opportunity that came with it. There is a real possibility of history repeating itself.”

Bansal identified several concerns with U.K. policy. He said there’s a risk the airwaves owned by different carriers could be fragmented and inefficient. International cooperation is required so the same airwaves are used in every country.

He also noted the country’s required planning approvals are slowing engineers’ work and making it more expensive, Bloomberg reported  He urged the government could do a better job at supporting 5G as a potential replacement for landline broadband, the report said.

Britain’s government rejected the criticisms and said reforms have made network deployment cheaper and easier.

In a statement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport told the news service the country’s roll out of broadband nationwide “is technology neutral, and we would be happy to meet with the supplier to discuss the role of 5G.”

Bansal’s allegations comes one week after O2, the London-based telecommunications services provider owned by Telefónica, selected Ericsson to deploy its 5G across the UK and upgrade the existing 2G/3G/4G sites as part of a major network modernization program.

Last month, PYMTS reported COVID-19 has prompted Ericsson to update its forecast for worldwide 5G subscriptions to 2.8 billion by 2025 from 2.6 billion, the company said in a webinar.

“We’re witnessing transformative changes just in the last two months,” Patrik Cerwall, Ericsson’s head of strategic marketing, said in the “Unboxed Office” event that was broadcast live on Periscope.

Amy McCune, Ericsson North America’s vice president and chief operations officer, told PYMNTS in May that shifts in lifestyle, work and healthcare are accelerating the demand for the next generation of wireless communications technologies.