2023 a year in review: telecoms industry

This year has been another interesting year in telecoms. We’re taking a look back at the exciting projects and subjects we covered within Real Wireless and across the industry. 

Transformation in the energy sector   

Early this year, Awnit Kumar, Managing Consultant at Real Wireless, dived into the future of wireless technology becoming critical to the transformation of the energy sector. In this blog, Awnit explored the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) ‘UK Wireless Infrastructure Strategy’ that was published in April and highlighted how wireless technology is critical to support the energy sector as it undergoes a major transition to a clean energy future.  

We also solidified our view that the energy sector needs help in improving efficiency, costs, and safety by deploying secure, reliable, and high-performance networks for its mission-critical applications. Big questions are still to be answered for this sector on spectrum, public or private networks and which use cases are in scope. 

Three UK and Vodafone UK merger 

A piece of news that hit the headlines this year, was the announcement of Vodafone and Three UK’s intention to combine into a joint venture – subject to agreement from the Competition and Markets Authority.  

Abhaya Sumanasena, Head of Policy and Regulation at Real Wireless, explored what this merger might mean for the spectrum landscape in the UK. One of the issues Abhaya considers is how the merger could create an imbalance in spectrum holdings.  

Passenger connectivity on the railways  

A Transport Focus report titled ‘Britain’s railway: what matters to passengers’ placed ‘reliable Wi-Fi and mobile reception’ 23rd out of 25 of the factors that passengers ranked as important. With the release of this report, John Okas, Chief Commercial Officer at Real Wireless, reviewed whether connectivity on the rail is important to passengers or not.  

In his blog John explores how there is a complexity to providing good connectivity on a train – but highlighted that the technology is not the issue here, there are many potential technical solutions – the key issue is who will pay for the technology. This same question and stumbling block have been around for a decade or so and the UK seems no nearer to a solution – and possibly further away.   

Joining the dots at SCWS 

Julie Bradford, Head of Techno-Economic Analysis at Real Wireless, chaired a panel discussion at this year’s SCWS which was titled ‘The role of hybrid networks in delivering a sustainable model’.  

Julie gives an overview of the discussion and some of the key points she took away from the event here. Including her notes from a panel session with Dr. Marika Livari of Imperial College, Jenny Obee of Argent Property Developers, and Patrick Bradd of Ontix who shared their perspectives on the difficulties of quantifying the value of connectivity and the challenges in finding ways to share costs and investment as wireless infrastructure delivery changes to include many more stakeholders. 

£40 million awarded to 5G Innovation Regions 

Lastly, some positive news to come out of this year was the launch of a £40 million Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) competition for local authorities to apply for to drive 5G innovation and the use of other advanced wireless technologies to support the local economy in their areas. 

We welcomed this funding to help advance manufacturing, transport, agriculture, and public services in the UK. We welcome any of the winners (announced in November 5G Innovation Regions: successful regions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) looking for independent advice on their project to contact us 

3G network sunset 

As the sunset of the UK’s 3G networks gathers pace, the report done by Real Wireless on the implications 2G/3G sunset (The Potential Impact of Switching Off 2G in the UK – Real Wireless (real-wireless.com)) start to loom large, now joined by the planned phase out of copper lines (Goodbye to 3G and copper. Hello to… – Real Wireless (real-wireless.com)). 

We look forward to finding out how these stories progress into the New Year and finding out what 2024 brings for the telecoms industry.   

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