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Is this the first 5G mobile phone mast in Cwmbran?

A 20m 5G mobile phone mast has been built by the bus stop at Fairwater Shops. The network behind the mast has not turned it on yet.

A quick coverage search across the four main networks, EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 showed that none of them currently offer 5G to customers in Cwmbran.

What is 5G?

5G is described by Ofcom as the “new generation of wireless technology”. The communications regulator said: “For starters, 5G is much faster than previous generations of wireless technology. But it’s not just about speed. 5G also offers greater capacity, allowing thousands of devices in a small area to be connected at the same time.

“The reduction in latency (the time between instructing a wireless device to perform an action and that action being completed) means 5G is also more responsive. This means gamers will see an end to the slight delays that can occur, when games can take time to reflect what they’re doing on their controller.

“But the biggest differences go far beyond improving the way we use existing technology like smartphones or games consoles. The connectivity and capacity offered by 5G is opening up the potential for new, innovative services.”

Who built the 5G mast by Fairwater Shops?

The new 20m mast has been built by Three and towers over their current 11.7m mast. The current mast has been on the site since 2015.

A Three spokesperson said: “This 5G site is vital for residents and businesses of Cwmbran. We want to continue offering the community a reliable network experience and a replacement will be critical to making that happen.

“By building the replacement site first and then transferring transmissions before we remove the original site, we can ensure there is minimal down-time.”

Did the new mast need planning permission?

No. In 2019 the Welsh Government relaxed the rules over mast sizes to make it easier for networks to improve coverage for customers. Click here to read the BBC Wales story on the new rules.

A spokesperson for Torfaen Council said: “The replacement mast is part of on-going improvement of coverage by telecom companies that is occurring in Torfaen, and the masts and apparatus are usually higher and bulkier, particularly in terms of the antenna. The legislation was changed by Welsh Government in 2019 to allow such replacement masts to be erected up to 25m in height (this one being 20m) without a need for planning permission or prior notification procedure, which applies to new sites.”


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Is this the first 5G mobile phone mast in Cwmbran?

A 5g mobile phone mast
The new 20m 5G mast at Fairwater Shops. You can see the 11.7m mast to the left of the photo