5G Research Begins

News Article - Tuesday, 09 October 2012 10:57

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

The 4G row has now been settled and last week we reported that we could see the new mobile broadband service rolling out to some cities at the end of this month, thanks to the existing spectrum owned by EE, who will begin offering the service before the Ofcom auction at the end of the year.

Now, Surrey University has received a £35m investment from mobile operators, infrastructure providers and the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund to begin looking into 5G. Work to build a 5G Innovation Centre to carry out research at the University has already begun,

"The boundaries between mobile communication and the internet are blurring, so the fifth generation is internet on the move," Surrey University’s Professor Rahim Tafozolli told the BBC.

A consortium of companies are to provide £24m of the funding including Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica Europe and Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, the other £11m will be provided by the Investment Fund.

According to ZDNet, the technology is unlikely to be seen in the UK, or anywhere else, before 2020 as it is so new it hasn’t even been formally named yet by bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

"Although the UK played an active role in the creation of 2G (GSM) cellular standards, it has increasingly fallen behind in succeeding generations of 3G and 4G standards,” Tafozolli said.

"The university’s industry partners have identified this proposal as the single biggest opportunity for the UK to regain a world leading position in the development of 5G technologies and for the development of vibrant businesses around the technologies.”

He went on to say that the University started working on 4G ten years ago and that it’s now "old hat” and that mobile data traffic is "soaring”, all but doubling year on year.

"It looks like every year the traffic is doubling. Unfortunately capacity is not doubling every year. We need to come up with technology, within the limited radio spectrum that we have, to accommodate this huge surge."

However, he added that 5G would have to be more economical than 4G if the UK hopes to keep costs down and preserve energy.

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