Three UK

Port of Felixstowe selected for UK government 5G trial

13 January 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Three UK, Cambridge University, Blue Mesh Solutions, Ericsson and Siemens are collaborating on a £3.4 million project to test 5G at the Port of Felixstowe.

The project makes the port (pictured) the largest in the UK to deploy 5G and IoT technology to enhance productivity, efficiency and safety across its core operations.

Three UK's network at the port will become part of the government’s 5G Trials and Testbeds Programme to drive investment and innovation in 5G, and support the development of new use cases and commercial deployment. 

Three UK and Hutchison Ports – which owns the Port of Felixstowe – are both part of CK Hutchison Holdings.

Mike Tomlinson, managing director, business at Three UK, said: “This project brings together the UK’s largest holder of 5G Spectrum with the UK’s largest container port, supported by world-leading experts in Operational Technology and Narrow Band Internet of Things.  This is the perfect platform to test and demonstrate the full potential of 5G mobile technology to a vital and complex industry and develop use cases for wider industries.” 

The project has already received £1.6 million from the UK Government as part of its 5G Create competition, intended to support innovators exploring new uses for 5G to improve people’s lives and boost British businesses.

Matt Warman, the country's minister for digital infrastructure said: “We want to unlock 5G’s potential to revolutionise a wide range of UK industries and 5G Ports is just one project the government is backing to achieve this.

“Our ports will be more vital than ever as we forge an ambitious new global trading position for the UK post-Brexit, so I’m eager to see what 5G can do to maximise efficiency at Britain’s biggest and busiest container port in Felixstowe.”

Ericsson and Siemens have been named as key contractors in the project which will test the potential of 5G across two use cases: enabling remote-controlled cranes via the transmission of CCTV and; deploying IoT sensors and AI to optimise the predicative maintenance cycle of Felixstowe’s 31 quay-side and 82 yard cranes. 

Harnessing the speed, low-latency and high-capacity of 5G, Three UK said the project will demonstrate "the productivity and efficiency gains of such technology, whilst reducing unplanned outage".   

Chris Lewis, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports UK, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting 5G Create programme. Being the largest UK port to introduce 5G technology will allow the Port of Felixstowe to deploy innovative technologies to boost efficiency and improve safety for our workforce. It ties in well with Government policy to create a network of Freeports to act as hotbeds for innovation and to act as hubs for global trade.”