5G and digitisation in Norfolk and Suffolk, east of England

Access a new generation of network technologies and take advantage of the UK’s future networks.

The UK government is looking to develop and roll out new 5G networks, applications and services for both domestic and global markets. This will create a 5G and digitisation opportunity that could add £173 billion of incremental gross domestic product (GDP) to the UK economy by 2030.

Norfolk and Suffolk have a rich tech ecosystem and unique capabilities in terms of core communications infrastructure. For example, investors can access the skills they need, collaborate with world-leading expertise and give their companies an edge by accessing the pioneering facilities at Adastral Park in Suffolk.



Martlesham, Suffolk

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment



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Sector and market opportunity

Recent government and industry commitments present a clear pipeline of opportunity in both size and scale for 5G and digitisation.

There are opportunities to design, develop and commercialise software systems. Ones that will revolutionise the satellite sector, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, software for next-generation telecoms networks and quantum technologies for communications systems.

The rapid rise in disruptive digital technologies exposes system vulnerabilities and brings an increase in data breaches and cyber attacks. Norfolk and Suffolk have the capabilities and expertise in cyber security to ensure you can take advantage of this multi-billion-pound global opportunity.

Growth prospects

The 5G and digitisation opportunity in the UK is estimated to grow to £159 billion by 2035. In 2021, the cost of an average data breach was £2.84 million.

There are a number of interesting market opportunities:

  • in 2021, the global satellite market was worth £200 billion
  • the global market for AI solutions was worth more than £46.5 billion
  • the global colocation data centre industry was worth £33.1 billion
  • the UK software market was worth £44.5 billion
  • the quantum technologies market will be worth £1 billion by 2023

In addition, 5G is being rolled out across the UK which, by 2035, will enable £13.1 trillion of global economic output.


Norfolk and Suffolk offer unique capabilities in the core communications infrastructure behind mobile, 5G and fixed telecoms services.

Adastral Park gives you access to a clear customer, partner and supply base for you to design, develop, test and deploy the software and hardware of the future. It’s home to over 150 leading companies and over 4,000 technology professionals. You can access pioneering facilities, including BT’s global research and development (R&D) centre.


Norfolk and Suffolk are close to London Stansted International Airport, plus there’s Norwich Airport and Southend Airport offering UK and European flights.

Connect to London by rail in 1 hour 30 minutes and take advantage of regular connections to the Midlands. And, with excellent road connectivity, you can be in Cambridge in 1 hour, London in 1 hour 30 minutes, and Birmingham in 2 hours 30 minutes.

Adastral Park is only 10 minutes from the Port of Felixstowe – the UK’s biggest and busiest container port and home of Freeport East.

Local talent and skills

The information and communications technology (ICT) digital sector has a workforce of 23,400. A further 35,000 digital technologists and engineers are active in companies in these and other local sectors, more than doubling the size of the digital tech workforce.

Over 2,500 students are studying relevant subjects, including physical science, mathematics, engineering science and computer science.

Alongside the national universities offering tech-related subjects, the region has its own universities. Part of the University of Suffolk’s EAST school (engineering, arts, science and technology) is based out of Adastral Park. Plus the new Digitech Centre offers higher education in digital science to new and fresh talent.

Region Spotlight
South of England


The region is home to 21 million people. It offers opportunities across a wide range of sectors from nuclear and aerospace, to life science and new technologies. There are vibrant clusters of expertise spanning 5G, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

View all investment opportunities in South of England

Research and expertise

There are 3 further education institutes in Norfolk and Suffolk providing specialist tech courses. In addition, the Tommy Flowers Institute is developing doctoral and postdoc research skills in ICT to help benefit the industry and the region.

The Innovation Martlesham cluster at Adastral Park offers unrivalled experience in the development of 5G, digitisation, future technology and future networks. The site has a range of technical facilities available such as showcases, shared 5G R&D facilities and labs, space and satellite labs as well as an experimental quantum communications network. Tap into a broad range of capabilities across the supply chain including software and hardware development, data centres, cyber security, AI and network development.

Local and national government support

5G plays a prominent role in the 7 strands of the UK’s digital strategy.

The UK aims to create the ultimate testing environment for 5G by:

  • accelerating the deployment of 5G networks
  • maximising the productivity and efficiency benefits to the UK from 5G
  • creating new opportunities for UK businesses at home and abroad

The government is launching a new cyber security strategy that will focus on 3 main points:

  • sustaining strategic advantage through science and technology
  • boosting the industrial base to deliver innovative and effective cyber security products
  • establishing long-standing co-operation between the government, industry and academia

Locally, support is available from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, including direct business support, guidance and funding.

The region’s Economic Strategy has ambitious plans to:

  • deliver the Adastral Park vision
  • create a new digital hub in Norwich to support start-ups and scale-ups
  • develop the economic case for a Smart Emerging Technology Institute and testbed

Success stories

Tech Mahindra

Providing information technology (IT) services and solutions across the globe, Tech Mahindra has been present in Adastral Park as a key systems integrator for BT.

It’s been involved in many projects, from helping BT on its BSS/OSS transformation to the modernisation of the BT network through the 21CN programme.

Tech Mahindra has made a strategic investment in Adastral Park and Innovation Martlesham through the creation of its Makers Lab. This was established to drive innovation and collaborative projects for their customers.

Zella DC

Operating from Perth, Australia, Zella DC is partnering with BT to bring its rugged, secure and remotely managed Micro Data Centres to Europe.

Being part of the Innovation Martlesham ecosystem at Adastral Park was an obvious way to build on the long relationship that Zella DC has with BT. From here they can receive guidance from the team at BT, and the community events and on-site support have helped them build relationships with other members.

Tethered Drone Systems

Tethered Drone Systems (TDS) is alone in the UK in design, development and manufacturing of fully integrated tethered UAS technologies. The TDS platform is a bespoke solution operating within the UK CAA regulations. It provides a platform for multiple payloads with continuous flight (24+ hours) and secure communication through the strong lightweight tether.

TDS joined the Innovation Martlesham (IM) catapult in early 2018 as a start-up company. Through the IM team, TDS has made numerous business connections with BT and other IM organisations at Adastral Park, the wider East Anglia business community and throughout the UK.

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