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Three to provide private 5G network to Port of Felixstowe in UK Government 5G trial

Jasper Hart
January 13, 2021

Project to test remote-controlled cranes and crane maintenance cycles

Three will provide a private 5G network and IoT technology to the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, as part of a government 5G trial.

The network’s installation is part of the government’s 5G Trials and Testbeds Programme. The government has provided £1.6 million of the £3.4 million total cost of the project.

Three and the Port of Felixstowe owner Hutchison Ports (which share the same parent company, CK Hutchison) are working alongside Cambridge University, Blue Mesh Solutions, Ericsson and Siemens.

The project will test two main 5G use cases: enabling remote-controlled cranes via CCTV transmission, and deploying IoT sensors and AI to optiise the maintenance cycle of the port’s 31 quayside and 82 yard cranes.

“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,” said Hutchison Ports UK CEO Chris Lewis. “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.”

It is Three’s first large-scale business project since the appointment of Mike Tomlinson as its managing director for business last September.

“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,” said Tomlinson.

“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.”

Digital minister Matt Warman added: “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.”


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