16 providers join latest EU-backed 5G research project
A group of 16 leading providers will join ‘FANTASTIC 5G’, the latest EU-backed research project designed to develop standards for the next-generation of mobile technology. The initiative, “designed to boost capacity, flexibility and improve efficiency for 5G”, according to a release from project lead Alcatel-Lucent, is part of the European Commission’s first phase of its 5G Public Private Partnership initiative (5G-PPP). The EC gave backing to 19 projects designed to develop research around 5G standards in an announcement last week, after receiving a total of 83 proposals, and will invest €128 million in phase one. “I want Europe to be the world leader in 5G,” tweeted Gunther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for the digital economy and society, earlier today. “Our PPP will help to bring us there.” FANTASTIC 5G will see a number of other leading operators and vendors team up, including Nokia Networks, Huawei, Orange and Telecom Italia, to develop a new air interface below 6GHz for 5G networks. It will run for 2 years, with a total of €8 million in EU funding. The project follows the formation of the 5G NORMA consortium, announced last week, also backed by the EC, which will see 13 leading vendors and operators partner to begin thinking about the mobile network architecture for 5G. The EC added that all 19 projects are “designed to work together and collaborate to deliver “critical 5G technology building blocks”. Alcatel-Lucent said FANTASTIC 5G aims to develop highly flexible 5G solutions to support data traffic, support more devices and enable versatile solutions to support diverse device types and traffic characteristics. “FANTASTIC-5G is of key importance, as the multi service air interface concepts being developed in the project will be evaluated and validated by the partners,” said Frank Schaich, research engineer at Alcatel-Lucent. “This helps to build up consensus and to facilitate the standardisation process of 5G.” Overall, the EU pledged a total of €700 million in public funding to develop 5G networks, with 5G-PPP broken up in three phases. The research phase of 5G-PPP is due to complete next year, before companies are due to move on to system optimisation. Large scale trials are then planned for 2019, with a target launch for 5G in 2020.