Vodafone, KPN, Huawei and Ericsson co-launch Dutch 5G test bed

A new 5G test bed has opened in the Netherlands bringing together vendors, operators, academic and government agencies to research new use-case scenarios.

5Groningen, cleverly named due to the region in which it is located, was signed off at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and will bring together ten parties to deliver research on a range of practical use-cases and verticals where 5G will deliver the most benefit. KPN, Vodafone, Huawei, Ericsson, the Dutch Telecommunications Agency, TNO, the University of Groningen, SURF and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences compile the full list of participating firms.

In a Huawei announcement, the Chinese vendor says innovation research will initially focus on the logistics, healthcare, environmental, energy and agricultural use-cases; and particularly highlighted self-driving cars as a budding use-case just waiting for 5G to come along.

“Today, the Netherlands enjoy fast mobile connectivity,” said Henk Kamp, the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs. “We need to ensure that our country continues to benefit from the latest developments of mobile technologies, such as 5G. This will bring added value for citizens, as well as businesses – not only from an economic perspective, but also by enabling key innovations in fields such as healthcare and agriculture.”

Somewhat surprisingly, agriculture was highlighted as being one of the leaders of 5G innovation. While the sector will certainly become one of the most impacted verticals benefiting from enhanced communications and IoT services, existing 5G projects and the profile of participants suggests while agriculture use-cases will be front of mind during research, the industry itself is unlikely to be driving the development of 5G technology.

5Groningen says the first series of tests will be launched before the end of the year at the Zernike Campus, one of the area’s largest research complexes.

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