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26 February 2018

British universities debut world's first 5G end-to-end network at Mobile World Congress

King’s College London, along with The University of Surrey (5GIC) and University of Bristol, will this week debut the world’s first end-to-end 5G network at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Mobile World Congress
Mobile World Congress

King’s College London, along with The University of Surrey (5GIC) and University of Bristol, will this week debut the world’s first end-to-end 5G network at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

One of the ways the universities will demonstrate their cutting-edge 5G technology is ‘5G for Sports’, a 5G-connected robotic football player. Visitors are invited to remotely control a player by kicking a football on one of the 5GUK stands, the movement of which will be instantly replicated by a robotic-foot located on a separate stand in a different exhibition hall, as it kicks another football into a net. Visitors will see the results of their ‘kick’ through monitors located on both stands. This real-time immersive experience is combined with ultra-reliable and low latency communications, thanks to the ultrafast mobile connectivity of the new 5G technology. Visitors will also see a comparison between 4G and 5G in transmission of ultra-high definition video using an intelligent mobile edge computing technique.

The technology was made possible thanks to a £16 million funding from Government, the investment of which will ensure that the UK continues to be world-class in 5G innovation and development through commercial exploitation, potentially adding up to £173 billion to the economy by 2030.

King’s has pioneered technologies to enable ultra-low latency 5G tactile internet developments to underpin the emerging Internet of Skills, which will change how people learn, train and share knowledge and experience. The promise of unprecedented speeds, and ultra-low latency, will deliver the power of touch, or real-time haptic feedback, across the mobile internet. As part of the Government’s Testbeds and Trials Programme, the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre has been leading on the development of powerful, fast and stable 5G radio technology and mobile networks. The University of Bristol has been working on Smart City and Smart Campus 5G deployment in the city of Bristol, targeting real-life demonstrations of 5G services in urban environments.

This technology will allow experts - from skilled surgeons to professional musicians - to share their physical expertise with a global audience in real-time. Surgeons will be able to physically guide medical students on other continents. Musicians will be able to transmit their ‘muscle memory’ wirelessly to exoskeletons worn by beginners – demonstrating the movements required to perform the most complex compositions, without needing to be in the same room.

Mischa Dohler, Professor of Wireless Communications and Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research at King’s College London, said: ‘We are immensely proud to be part of this programme and to have achieved the UK’s first 5G Massive MIMO test and the world’s first fully softwarized end-to-end call. It is the product of years’ long engagement with large industries, and testimony to King’s incredible research and innovation capabilities. To be the first in the UK to showcase live a technology which will fundamentally change our society for the better, is very humbling. We are very proud that King’s and our ecosystem has become a global go-to-place for industries regarding 5G innovation, design and delivery. 

‘This demonstration showcases ‘synchronised reality’ – a term coined by researchers at King’s – where the physical environment, virtual reality, and mental stimulation are combined. This synchronisation of the real, virtual, and mental arenas is far beyond virtual reality and augmented reality.’

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director and Founder of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey and the 5GUK project leader, said: ‘We are excited to be showing what our 5G technology can do at Mobile World Congress. This is a proud moment for my team and the University of Surrey as we will be able to show just a taste of what is possible thanks to the power of 5G.

‘Earlier this year 5GIC successfully demonstrated Holoportation and Transport on Demand at the Mobile Broadband Forum between London ExCel and the University of Surrey campus a distance of more than 50km. These demonstrated both high bandwidth and guaranteed low latency aspects of 5G. This was the world’s first end to end 5G tests using fully virtualised core with mobile broadband and ultra-low latency communications.

‘5G is not only about mobile communication, broadband communication and increasing the speed by factor of 10, compared to 4G – another important aspect is automation. This means automating future factories, future hospitals, future cities and so much more – 5G will have a truly transformational impact on all of our daily lives.”  

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the Smart Internet Lab at University of Bristol and Chief Scientific Officer for Bristol Is Open commented: ‘The UK is now in a unique position to showcase what 5G can achieve thanks to recent government investment.  Our testbed and trials programme has progressed to the stage where we can now provide meaningful demonstrations of full 5G network solutions.   Our pioneering joint research programme will pave the way for applications that could transform our lives, ranging across transport, health, education, entertainment.  We know that 5G will deliver the ultra-reliable and ultra-fast networks of the future – our job is now to demonstrate benefits, develop skills and support a rapidly developing 5G commercial ecosystem in the UK.’

Mobile World Congress is the largest exhibition for the mobile industry and a conference featuring prominent executives representing mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world.


For further information please contact the Public Relations Department at King’s College London on 0207 848 3202 or

For more information about King's, visit the  King's in Brief web pages