UK government backs 5G research

October 9, 2012
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ExtremeTech (Image credit:)

It’s nice to know that the UK government’s austerity package hasn’t prevented it from ponying up around £300 million for a bunch of university and private research projects. That includes a provision of £11.6 million (around $18.6 million) for research into 5G. Everything Everywhere only recently got the green light to start rolling out 4G LTE in the UK, so with the fifth generation of mobile data networks the government is determined not to be late to the party.

The money will join up with £24 million (around $38.5 million) which has been provided by industry heavyweights like Telefonica, Samsung, Huawei and Fujitsu, and splash into the coffers of a “5G Innovation Centre” at the University of Surrey. The centre “will support the development of 5th Generation cellular communications.”

Apparently the university has already been working on 5G for a number of years and this new investment will take the work beyond theory and into development. According to Engadget “10Gbps has been banded around as a per-tower target, translating to roughly 200Mbps for each connection”, which is really quite fast.  To put that in perspective, Verizon’s 4G LTE network is offering average speeds around 9Mbps right now.

The researchers will also be looking for ways to make the network more economical and less power hungry. Prof Rahim Tafozolli told the BBC, “We are facing systems which are too expensive. We need something extremely energy efficient and cost efficient.”

The prospect of 5G speeds is pretty exciting, but we won’t be enjoying them until 2020.

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