Home to the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed, the West Midlands boasts the UK’s fastest-growing tech sector
Located in the very heart of England, the West Midlands has long been a hotbed of creativity and innovation. The region - through WM5G - has led the UK’s path to 5G and plays a significant role in accelerating deployment across the country.
Birmingham is ranked first for 5G coverage among top cities in England and Scotland
Employed in West Midlands tech sector
5G-connected road testbed for CAM technology
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.
West Midlands has a strong cyber focus, from Midlands Cyber, a vibrant cyber cluster for the region, to the new Cyber Quarter-Midlands Centre for Cyber Security, which provides a single hub for cyber security needs for small or large business. The region is also strong academically, with the Universities of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Warwick and Aston University all boasting cyber security innovation and research centres.
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.
WM5G has delivered a programme of 5G innovation working with West Midlands Combined Authority, Transport for West Midlands and an array of SMEs from the vibrant local ecosystem. Together they have delivered a myriad of projects in health and social care, transport and manufacturing.
WM5G also works in partnership with local authorities and mobile network providers to accelerate the roll-out of 5G and fibre networks, and the West Midlands and Birmingham have reaped the rewards of WM5G’s Infrastructure Acceleration programme, having been ranked highest for 5G coverage according to the Umlaut Audit Report, 5G Coverage in the UK 2021.
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.
The University of Wolverhampton's Centre for Future Networks and Autonomous Systems undertakes world-class fundamental and applied research into core technologies, communications systems, and applications that directly underpin the digital future and the fourth industrial revolution. The centre’s work is driven by the vision of a hyper-connected future comprising seamlessly connected devices and services that enable novel, low friction, high-value experiences across personal, societal, and industrial contexts.
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.
The West Midlands has been crowned as the fastest growing region for tech in the UK and as part of this is building strong AI capabilities. Significantly, the region is rapidly becoming ‘multi-centre’ in its distribution of the digital economy. While the focus is on Birmingham, other centres in Coventry, Warwick, Leamington Spa and Worcester are also developing.
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 has representation in a number of diversification projects: Aston University is a partner in the Scalable Optical Fronthaul for 5G OpenRAN project, while West Midland 5G is a partner in the ARI-5G project.
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