Mobile phone network O2 will activate its 5G network in June for the testing of driverless cars.

The network has partnered with the Millbrook proving ground, which is a key test track for companies testing autonomous vehicles in the UK.

The 5G network will be switched on in Bedfordshire, where businesses testing driverless cars will be able to test O2’s 5G network on the proving ground by using it to send telemetry data and high definition videos taken by the cameras fitted to autonomous cars.

British companies including Five.ai, Oxbotica and StreetDrone all test their self-driving car technology at Millbrook.

The testing of the 5G network for driverless cars comes ahead of O2’s planned launch of its full 5G network in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh later this year.

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Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s chief technology officer, said that the launch of 5G will be “a massive step change.”

“5G is not just another G,” he said. “The step from 3G to 4G was an advancement and it was an evolution.

“5G can be revolutionary to UK businesses and consumers because the amount of bandwidth that we're talking about means that the era of massive internet of things devices and really great enhanced mobile broadband is on our doorstep.”

Mr O’Reilly said that the driverless car test will be used to improve O2’s eventual consumer 5G network. “While we're working with enterprise, the onward effects of the role that can play for consumers is huge," he added.

The UK’s first live 5G industrial trial took place in Worcester in February, when 5G sensors in Worcester Bosch’s factory were activated.

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