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Cameron: 5G networks will download movies in a second

David Cameron

By Barry Collins

Posted on 10 Mar 2014 at 08:37

David Cameron has announced a partnership between British and German universities, which he claims will deliver 5G networks capable of downloading a movie in only a second.

The prime minister was speaking at CeBIT, Europe's biggest technology show, at the invitation of German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

As well as announcing the 5G partnership, the prime minister said the UK would today announce a new spectrum strategy, which will drive forward the so-called "Internet of Things".

Next-gen mobile

Three British and German universities will work together to develop 5G technology: the University of Dresden, King’s College University in London and the University of Surrey.

No government money appears to be being spent on the partnership, nor did the prime minister reveal any more details about what this fifth-generation technology consists of, short of announcing that download times for an 800MB movie would be "cut to one second".

The prime minister said he wanted to work with Germany "to pool ideas, share data, innovate, [and] to lead on the next big ideas".

Making better use of white space

Cameron also revealed more details of the Spectrum Strategy that is due to be announced today by Ofcom.

"We aim to double the economic benefits of spectrum to UK companies and consumers from roughly £50 billion today, to £100 billion in 2025," the prime minister said.

"We’ll do this by allowing new applications to come online, new kinds of mobile technologies to be used, more data usage to be enjoyed and greater broadcasting services to be made available."

The prime minister said he wanted the Internet of Things to move "from a slogan to a fact," and so had tasked the government's chief scientific adviser to explore the area, with £73 million of public money pumped into research.

"These are developments that could allow literally billions of everyday objects to talk to each other over the internet – using low-cost, low-power chips," the prime minister claimed.

"This has enormous potential to change our lives. Electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals. Health monitors that keep an eye on your heart rate. Water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure. And yes, even a fridge that can order you milk when it notices you are getting low."

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User comments

Wow a months data in a second

Dear Dave,

I am not sure why I would want to download a movie in a second, and I am pretty sure my phone couldn't save it that fast. I am also sure that this would be like in 4G with coverage limited to a tiny percentage of the country.

What would be more useful would be something faster than 2G for the half of the country that is still waiting. Even outer London and the major motorways have large areas without 3G coverage.

By tirons1 on 10 Mar 2014

5G? I can't even get 2G on a bad day!

By miketoll on 10 Mar 2014

Ditto, miketoll.

Do I take it they'll be putting back some of the towers that the networks have been removing to allow for this amazing 5g service?

By Mr_Flynn on 10 Mar 2014

Useless with data caps

Given that 4G, for those who can get it, is wildly expense for a virtually useless tiny data cap, this is nonsense. An 800mb movie in a second is great, but after two and maybe some surfing, you've blown through your 2GB data cap and you're dead in the water.

By ADimensionOfMind on 10 Mar 2014

Misplaced techology

Government should be putting money into sorting out the rural broadband mess.
I currently get less than 0.5 Mb.
Only just useable.

By adriansbt on 10 Mar 2014

And where's the source capable of delivering data at this speed? Sitting here on a nice fat data pipe, and there's very few services out there that can saturate it.

By PaulOckenden on 10 Mar 2014

Its about Time...

that all ISP's were forced to provide truly unlimited broadband, no data caps no traffic shaping, then these headline technologies would be meaningful and relevant to the end user, what's the point in being able to use your allowance in a few seconds..., Pie in the Sky, come to mind.

By Chrisfjr1300 on 10 Mar 2014

Political spin

Reading between the lines....

1) The 1 second he's referring to is the amount of time it takes to start playing aka streaming not downloading.


2) With the fastest of technologies and in lab conditions you can download a file in 1 second.


3) Our German partners thought it would be funny to make our PM look like a fool by telling him a load of nonsense. They should realise this isn't necessary as he's perfectly capable of doing this himself :)

By anthonysjones on 10 Mar 2014

Wrong focus

Perhaps more focus should be put on getting decent 3G (or even 2G) coverage first. It's still difficult to maintain a 3G connection away from built-up areas and major roads, and that is on one of the networks known to have better coverage. I still maintain that this would also be more realistic than providing fixed line broadband to every isolated building in rural areas - and would benefit visitors / mobile workers too.

By halsteadk on 10 Mar 2014

...will download movies in a second

Legitimate movies one hopes.


By Alfresco on 10 Mar 2014

Where I live getting 2G can be a struggle.....

By tech3475 on 10 Mar 2014

800MB movie in 1 second.... that sounds familiar

Either 6.4 Gbit is the new standard for 5G or Cameron is taking a page out of the South Korean's playbook

Just a month and a half ago the South Korean Science Minister said exactly the same thing.

By Chambler on 11 Mar 2014

800MB movie in 1 second.... that sounds familiar

Either 6.4 Gbit is the new standard for 5G or Cameron is taking a page out of the South Korean's playbook

Just a month and a half ago the South Korean Science Minister said exactly the same thing.

By Chambler on 11 Mar 2014

I'd prefer Phones That Do What I need

I'm still using my 8 or 9 year old Nokia since nothing else does what I NEED.
It might help me to be interested in films if there was something worth watching.
However, NOT on a stupid £500(?) / £ 750(?) £ 1,000(?) phone with a few seconds download limit.
Even a 23" screen is too small for a proper 'experience', should an interesting film ever turn up.

By Jonesr18 on 11 Mar 2014

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