From compound semiconductors to cybersecurity, Wales boasts a number of telecom strengths
Home to the world's first compound semiconductor cluster, two cybersecurity clusters-the one in South Wales being the largest industry network of its kind-a £20m cyber centre and leading academic institutions, Wales plays a crucial role in the UK telecoms ecosystem.
people working for more than 3,500 tech organisations
cybersecurity clusters, one in North and one in South Wales
increase in demand for AI skills over the past three years
Technologies & trends
The region boasts expertise and capabilities in a number of key telecom fields. Learn more about the relevant technologies.
The potential benefits of 5G, future wireless generations and full-fibre digital connectivity can only be realised if we have confidence in the resilience of our infrastructure.
Cyber Wales is a flourishing ecosystem of over 900 organisations and both industry, academia and government are investing in the sector across Wales, with the Welsh Government partnering with global technology company Thales to establish a £20m cyber centre, ResilientWorks, at the heart of the Tech Valleys in Blaenau Gwent. A living laboratory campus for cyber trust, it is to be delivered in collaboration with Cardiff University and EyzOn Energy and will give the valleys critical mass in cyber for critical infrastructure, benefiting the smaller companies of the South Wales cyber cluster, bringing in new work and investment from outside of the country and giving Wales a distinct identity in the international technology markets.
Wireless networking is experiencing a period of exciting change with the development of new generations from 5G to 6G, WiFi 6 and 7, offering new use cases and business cases that extend far beyond just faster speeds.
Blaenau Gwent is the home of Tech Valleys, a hub for developing new technologies and advanced manufacturing that boasts the National Digital Exploitation Centre, the first research and development facility of its kind in Wales. The centre provides the perfect setting for SMEs and microbusinesses to test and develop their digital concepts while big multinationals can benefit from use of the research lab to develop major technology advances and exploit the global opportunities of digital transformation.
Blaenau Gwent was also the location, alongside Ebbw Vale, of the 5G Wales Unlocked project which worked with BT to develop public 5G networks across the areas to explore the potential benefits of advanced connectivity to education, tourism and agriculture.
Core networks are critical infrastructure and new digital technologies and trends have the potential to disrupt and transform, ensuring capabilities, resilience and performance can meet emerging and future needs.
Bangor University's Digital Signal Processing Centre of Excellence was founded in 2019 with £3.9m funding from the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government and received an additional £3m from the North Wales Growth Deal through Ambition North Wales, Welsh Government and UK Government in 2022.
They develop leading edge digital signal processing (DSP) technologies to enable advanced and intelligent systems with a focus on communication technologies such as 5G mobile networks and their associated ecosystems. Innovative DSP algorithms embedded in network devices are a cost-effective way of speeding up networks, dynamically and optimally sharing network resources and implementing power managed devices for low-carbon networks.
The BEACON-5G project, part-based in Ebbw Vale, is developing and end-to-end 5G system, while the Scalable Optical Fronthaul for 5G OpenRAN project, including Cardiff-based Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, is developing a UK-based low cost optical interface technology for fronthaul. The Catapult is also a partner in the REASON project, developing a roadmap for open 6G network architectures.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is disrupting industry on a broad scale and the telecoms sector is no exception, with Valuates projecting that the global AI in telecoms market size will reach $14.99B by 2027, up from $11.89B in 2020.
Welsh Government has invested in local universities collaborating in data science and artificial intelligence to help establish Wales as an international leader in the field. The Wales Data Nation Accelerator is a collaboration between Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor universities and is undertaking innovation projects across a range of sectors including healthcare and agriculture.
Cardiff University has a particular focus on AI through their interdisciplinary Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Human-Machine Systems. The centre develops fundamental and applied knowledge in challenging areas such as human-centred computing, human-centred robotics, human-like AI, explainable AI, affective computing and trusted autonomy.
From batteries and sensors to antennas and lasers, the telecoms industry makes use of a broad range of materials and components such as copper, aluminium, ceramics and silicon, demonstrating diversification and innovation in the supply chain.
Government, industry and academia are collaborating in Wales to make it a hub for compound semiconductors from research through to production. From its headquarters in Cardiff, IQE has a 55% global market share in compound semiconductor technology, while The CSconnected cluster in South Wales is the world's first semiconductor cluster. Bringing together the Compound Semiconductor Centre, Cardiff University, the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, Swansea University and industry, it offers companies an end-to-end opportunity to service the growing global demand for compound semiconductor enabled technologies, worth a projected £230 billion by 2024.
Diversification of the telecoms supply chain is ultimately about choice, a desire to broaden the choice of equipment and solution providers in the sector-driven by commercial, technical and geopolitical factors.
The region is participating in a number of diversification projects: the South Wales-based Compound Semiconductor Cluster is participating in the REASON, Secure 5G Platform using Novel, Efficient Wideband PA and Scalable Optical Fronthaul for 5G OpenRAN projects; BEACON 5G is located in Ebbw Vale, alongside other locations; while NeutrORAN is testing and demonstrating a multiple operator, neutral host solution using an Open RAN ecosystem in Wales.
The University of Glamorgan offers an MSc in Mobile Telecommunications Management. This course is one of the first of its kind worldwide.
Deploying 5G in Places
We've spoken to local authorities up and down the UK, to hear first hand how they've approached digital infrastructure and connectivity programmes. Designed to be both practical and pragmatic, we've collated insights, assets and guides that can be replicated and adapted to help you on your journey to 5G.
Guide to help manufacturers identify their connectivity requirements