"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," said Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EC.
By 2020 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. Today there are 1.2 billion mobile broadband users, and the figure is growing by hundreds of millions each year.
Every sector of the economy is going digital. Every EU business and citizen needs to know they can enjoy easy-to-use, reliable and fast Internet on the move. This new wave of research projects promises to bring cutting-edge ultra-high-speed mobile broadband technology to the daily lives of Europeans.
At present, there are over eight new EU research projects that address the architecture and functionality needs for 5G/beyond 4G networks.
EU industrial players joining forces with academia and research institutes involved in these projects span from worldwide leading telecom operators (British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom/Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Portugal Telecom), to the world's major telecom manufacturers (Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Thales Communications), world's leading provider of business software (SAP) and also world-renowned automotive manufacturers (BMW).
Overall, from 2007 to 2013 EU investments amount to more than €700 million for research on future networks, half of which is allocated to wireless technologies, contributing to development of 4G and beyond 4G.
EU long-term research support has been instrumental to share risks with industry for communication networks, whose development cycle is ten years.
Past EU research investments have delivered many of the mobile advances we take for granted today. These include the GSM standard (used today by 80% of the world's mobile networks) and technologies used in the current third-generation 3G/UMTS standards and the fourth-generation 4G/LTE.