LIVE FROM MWC19 LOS ANGELES: The US Department of Defence (DoD) revealed plans to launch 5G testbeds at a number of military sites, where it will conduct large-scale experiments in collaboration with private sector partners.

The DoD expects to begin announcing test sites and use cases later this year, with new opportunities announced roughly every quarter depending on funding available.

An initial tranche will cover four military bases and focus on dynamic spectrum sharing models, to demonstrate how 5G can operate in environments congested with military radar traffic (similar to what is already being done in the 3.5GHz band); integration of AR and VR for mission planning and training; and smart warehouse technology to improve logistics.

A draft request for proposals (RFP) will be released in November to gain feedback from mobile players in the private sector: a final RFP for the first stage is expected in December.

Speaking at the event, Lisa Porter, deputy undersecretary of defence for research and engineering (pictured), said the DoD believes “the military that masters ubiquitous connectivity” will have an edge over rivals. She added “5G is not an end state” and “we will never let up on our commitment to continuously innovate” with partners in the private sector and across the government.

In a subsequent briefing with journalists, Porter said the first four test sites will be domestic, but the DoD may explore other options in the future.

She also stressed the security aspects of the trials: “I think a big challenge is we want to make sure we understand the vulnerability aspects of 5G…The DoD really wants to work with industry to make sure early on we’re understanding how things are evolving and we’re able to influence how think about security together”.