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5G: security and resilience in our future networks

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Julian David

CEO, techUK

Security is synonymous with confidence. When you lock your front door, you feel more confident that your home is secure.

This same feeling of security is reflected in the UK’s efforts to secure its telecoms networks, outlined in the imminent Telecoms Security Bill legislation, which Secretary of State Oliver Dowden introduced as “one of the toughest security regimes in the world.”  

The legislation comes in two parts; firstly, in legislating the removal of high-risk vendors and secondly, a wider security framework that places legal duties on operators to secure our networks.  

It’s a signal from the UK Government to the telecoms industry to double check the lock on 5G.  

Increasing business and consumer confidence

It’s also a signal that UK consumers and businesses can take confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure that supports 5G, so that enhanced wireless connectivity can deliver on its potential to provide new services.

But what else is the Government saying? That with just two large-scale suppliers for the UK’s radio access networks, there is a market need to diversify the telecoms supply chain – and this is where an opportunity arises for 5G. 

The estimated impact of 5G in new goods and services is set to reach $12 trillion by 2035.

Diversifying the telecoms supply chain means exploring new ways of how we build telecoms networks; disaggregating parts of the network to allow for more innovative solutions – potentially reducing costs to provide coverage in rural areas for instance. Delivering that involves supporting our incumbent suppliers in developing products and services to help future-proof 5G as well as creating the right conditions for new suppliers to enter the UK telecoms market and make an impact, such as Mavenir’s Open RAN Centre of Innovation in Cambridge.  

The economic opportunity of 5G

By fostering a cohesive ecosystem of security experts and service providers working together we can capture a significant economic opportunity. The estimated impact of 5G in new goods and services is set to reach $12 trillion by 2035 whilst the new technologies that drive disaggregated networks, such as Open RAN, are estimated to be worth $47 billion by 2026. The UK’s strengths in AI, machine learning and software design can also augment our leading telecoms industry, through new ways of connecting consumers and enterprise.  

Of course, no network is ever immune to the risk of attack, and the UK’s operators will remain vigilant through a principles-based approach to 5G security. But like installing a state-of-the-art burglar alarm, transformative 5G technology will increase confidence in the security and resilience of the UK’s networks. 

To learn more, contact our Communications Infrastructure and Services team at techUK

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