UK government gives boost to 5G development | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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In the latest part of its policy to deliver what it says will be more secure and resilient telecoms networks, the UK government has created a new body for telecoms innovation and has inked what it says is a milestone R&D partnership with the Republic of Korea.
Samsung 5G generic 18JUne2020
As part of the Future Open Networks Research Challenge, universities and telecoms firms have been invited to apply for up to £25 million to research and develop the next generation of network equipment for 5G and even 6G infrastructures as part of new government plans to unleash innovation in the sector. This is designed to enable academics and the industry to conduct early-stage research into open and interoperable telecoms solutions, such as Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN).

The government is accelerating the development of this technology - which allows operators to mix and match equipment rather than relying on a single supplier when building or maintaining networks - as part of its £250 million Open Networks R&D Fund. It aims to build more secure and resilient broadband and mobile infrastructure by boosting competition and innovation within the telecoms supply chain.

The scheme will fund several consortia of universities and suppliers to conduct early-stage research and development of telecom solutions sustaining openness and interoperability for 5G and future networks such as 6G.
The relationship with the Republic of Korea will see the UK invest £1.6 million in a joint-funded £3.6 million competition to collaborate on what the countries say is a world-first R&D project to accelerate the development of Open RAN technology. Each country will fund a group of several companies to work together to accelerate the development of technical solutions to improve power efficiency in Open RAN networks. Power consumption is a major operating cost, so the work will support wider adoption of Open RAN technologies, reduce operating costs and support net zero ambitions.

The new scheme comes as £10 million has been awarded to launch the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN), a new body dedicated to boosting creativity in the country’s telecoms supply chain. The UKTIN will act as an information and ideas hub for industry and academics looking to access funding or R&D testing facilities and opportunities to collaborate on developing new mobile and broadband technology. The Digital Catapult, CW (Cambridge Wireless), University of Bristol and West Midlands 5G have been revealed as the winners of the competition to set up and oversee the network.