European Commission to invest €50m in paving the way for 5G

28 Feb 2013

Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president with responsibility for the Digital Agenda

Just as 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile services are beginning to deploy in Europe, the European Commission’s vice-president Neelie Kroes has decided that she wants to see Europe pioneer the next generation of mobile after that, 5G.

“I want 5G be pioneered by European industry, based on European research and creating jobs in Europe – and we will put our money where our mouth is,” Kroes said during Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona.

By 2020, she said worldwide mobile traffic alone will reach a 33 times increase compared to 2010 figures.

In this time, internet access will become dominated by wireless devices, such as smartphones, tablets, machines and sensors, requiring more efficient and ubiquitous technology to carry the data traffic.

Every sector of the economy is going digital, Kroes said.

New research programmes supported by the European Commission include METIS, 5GNow, iJOIN, TROPIC, Mobile Cloud Networking, COMBO, MOTO and PHYLAWS.

Mobile operators collaborating with the programmes include BT, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom/Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Portugal Telecom.

Communications companies engaged in the projects include Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks and Thales Communications.

From 2007 to 2013, EU investments amount to more than €700m for research on future networks, half of which are allocated to wireless technologies, contributing to the development of 4G and beyond 4G.

The METIS project, which will receive €16m in fresh EU investment, aims to enable network operators to support 1,000 times higher mobile data volume per areas and 100 times the number of connected devices accessing these networks.

The project also envisages up to 100 times higher typical user data rates and devices that will have 10 times longer battery life, such as machine-to-machine communications.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years