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EE to launch UK's first 5G service in May

EE to launch UK's first 5G service in May

Matthew Howett, a mobile analyst with research firm Assembly, said: "To convince consumers to make the leap from 4G to 5G, it's important to communicate that it's more than just about speed. 

"While peak download speeds will be faster, crucially there will be more capacity, which will allow for a whole host of new applications and services."

Broadband speed must be revealed to customers

Broadband speed must be revealed to customers

Ofcom is at the centre of a campaign to persuade users to upgrade to faster broadband as well as reviewing broadband firms' pricing practices and ensuring customers get the best available deals.

According to the regulator's research, those with a basic broadband connection have less than a one-in-five chance of being able to stream Netflix in ultra-high definition.

Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly, said the new code could act "as an incentive for broadband providers to move customers on to full-fibre connections, since speeds in the fibre network are easier to guarantee and less susceptible to network congestion".

UK 4G 'slower than most of EU when busy'

UK 4G 'slower than most of EU when busy'

"The benefits of 5G is that it not only delivers faster download speeds but crucially more capacity, which should go some way to alleviating problems of congestion in the network," said Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly.

"All research points to the fact UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data that is only going to grow over time, especially as 5G will in some instances be a replacement for fixed broadband."

Half of UK homes could get faster broadband

Half of UK homes could get faster broadband

Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly, thinks the reason many do not upgrade is a combination of apathy and contentment with the service they have.

"I think fundamentally most households are generally satisfied with the speeds they are getting, and find their needs are met although, of course, this changes when you introduce larger families, multiple streams of HDTV, and online gaming.

"All of these more bandwidth-intense services will push up a household's requirements. The other thing to consider is the complexity faced when choosing a broadband package.

"While there are many good tools to help consumers shop around for the best deal, different contract durations, introductory tariffs, and added extras make changing package or supplier a daunting prospect for some."

Openreach to cut price of fast broadband

Openreach to cut price of fast broadband

Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly, said the announcement made "commercial sense" because Openreach and others looking to upgrade the UK's infrastructure needed to prove that the demand is out there.

"This does seem like a genuine move to get more people onto the fibre network, and stave off criticism from those that say the UK falls behind," he said.

"It's about Openreach showing the industry and the regulator that it has changed and is implementing the further separation from BT not only to the letter, but also in the spirit of what was agreed."

Broadband speeds in UK slip down global league table

Broadband speeds in UK slip down global league table

While the speeds in the UK were not the best, there were other measurements - such as availability and speed - where the UK would fare better, said Matthew Howett, principal analyst at research company Assembly.

"Some countries are also of course easier to roll out broadband in. The fastest country in this survey, Singapore, is about the size of London and obviously doesn't have the same challenges with remote and rural areas that we have in Britain," he said.

"Encouragingly, Britain is set for more fibre, with leading operators and their competitors all having committed to deploy so called full-fibre.

"Once those deployments ramp up, they would be reflected in similar league tables."

Superfast 5G mobiles are a step closer

Superfast 5G mobiles are a step closer

Analyst Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly, thinks most customers will not see 5G any time soon.

"Everyone is getting a bit ahead of themselves," he said, "but the industry hasn't yet agreed on how it will be different from 4G".

Mr Howett said it would mean "faster, more reliable connection", but added: "My view is, it's a way off."

He added: "All they are buying is essentially the airwaves that are all around us and have existed since the Big Bang, because there is only a finite amount."

5G auction bidding starts in UK

5G auction bidding starts in UK

But the case for 5G services still needs to be made, says Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly.

"Everyone is still unsure of the 5G business model and use cases with the hype largely being driven by those who make the network equipment," he said.

"Operators still have so much more they can do with their 4G networks and investment is still going into improving the performance and coverage of those."

5G will work across a number of spectrum bands, so those missing out in this latest auction will still be able to roll out 5G services, he added.

"Naturally all operators will be looking to limit the amount they bid given the reluctance of customers to pay more for faster speeds," said Mr Howett.

"This auction is certainly unlikely to net as much as the last auction for 4G spectrum, and nowhere remotely close to the eye-watering £22.5bn operators paid for 3G licences almost two decades ago."

Rent-a-church spire plan to boost mobile phone coverage

Rent-a-church spire plan to boost mobile phone coverage

Digital analysts welcomed the development but said "the devil would be in the detail".

"Getting access to suitable sites, particularly in rural areas, has been a real challenge for mobile operators, so any initiative aimed at improving this will be welcomed by the industry," said Matthew Howett, principal analyst at research firm Assembly.

"What's not clear, though, is what the commercial relationship looks like. There have been many stories of rural land owners effectively holding operators to ransom for access to some sites, which has slowed down rollout and added considerably to the cost."