Published: 07 November 2013

5G Innovation Centre plans move closer to reality

A consortium of key global players in telecommunications formally joins Surrey to develop 5G Innovation Centre.

Together pledging support worth over £30 million, the consortium officially signed an official partnership with the University of Surrey on 25 October. The group consists of some of the world’s leading mobile network operators, infrastructure and tools providers, media and communications organisations, as well as the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom. It includes Aeroflex, AIRCOM International, BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, Huawei, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone.

The world’s first research centre dedicated to mobile technology, the 5G Innovation Centre will focus on the advanced technologies that will underpin the 5G network of the future. The project will also include the development of a 5G ‘test bed’, based on campus, which will enable technologies to be tested in a real-world environment.

The consortium’s pledged support of £30 million (which includes time, expertise and other contributions) is in addition to the £11.6 million awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) last autumn.

As a further boost to this major project, plans for the 5G Innovation Centre have now been granted planning permission, with preparatory building work now underway. The Centre will be built to high environmental standards, with an expected completion date of 2015. Once completed, it will become home to 150 researchers and around 100 PhD students.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of Surrey’s Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR), said: “We are delighted that the formal agreements are now in place and plans are underway to start turning the vision for a 5G Innovation Centre into a reality.

“Undoubtedly, 4G technologies are revolutionising mobile connectivity in the UK and will continue to do so over the next decade, but it is extremely important for us to find innovative ways of coping with the levels of mobile communications data traffic that are expected to continue rising. We will use state-of-the-art 4G as the starting point for our work and complement this with even more advanced technologies which place the user at the heart of the design process.

“By bringing together leading academics with heavyweight industry partners, I believe we can develop the technologies that are required to provide much-needed capacity, drive economic growth and actively contribute to and shape the future 5G system. Ultimately, our vision is to provide a consistent and reliable mobile communications service and create the perception of ‘infinite capacity’.”

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