The West Midlands Combined Authority region has been confirmed as the best connected in the UK in the latest mobile coverage study from independent telecoms analyst Umlaut.
The report, which analyses 5G coverage across the UK’s Combined Authority areas, shows the West Midlands still leads the way nationally, with two-thirds of locations in the region having access to 5G from at least one network operator. This represents a tripling of coverage since December 2021. This compares favourably with other regions, which typically have 5G coverage across less than half of their geographies.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “Given the present and future importance of 5G technology here in the UK, it’s great to see our region at the top of the connectivity table.
“This means local people and businesses are benefitting from the lightning-fast connectivity that will enable them to thrive in the months and years ahead – supporting the creation of high quality jobs.
“By continuing to grow our region’s 5G infrastructure, the West Midlands will remain at the forefront of digital innovation – harnessing the power of this technology, attracting investment and driving innovation all for the benefit of residents right across the region.”
Robert Franks, Managing Director of digital innovation company WM5G, said: “This is encouraging news for the region and reflects the great work WM5G has been doing with mobile operators, local authorities and Government to make it simpler, faster and cheaper to deploy connectivity infrastructure across our region.
“Boosting connectivity holds the key to improving lives across the country – from enabling access to better healthcare, to supporting businesses to realise the benefits of the digital revolution and create more, high-value jobs.
“There is still more to do: improving broadband access is key to enabling more people to get online affordably, smoothing access to public services and opening up opportunities across the region. However, the report highlights the strides we are making and demonstrates how our region is now in a strong position to lead the way in the delivery of its digital ambitions.”
One recent example of how WM5G is helping the region accelerate roll out of 5G networks came just last month when Birmingham City Council announced the signing of the first Open Access Agreements with telecoms infrastructure providers to use council lampposts to host so-called ‘small cells’. These add greater network coverage and device connection capacity for mobile networks where large masts alone cannot meet user needs. Access agreements typically take more than 12 months to put in place but, thanks to support from WM5G as part of the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator, this has been reduced to just six working weeks.
To find out more about WM5G’s approach to boosting connectivity across the country, contact chris.hudson@WM5G.org.uk