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£1m fund set up to encourage 5G innovation

Monday, October 26th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Businesses are being offered a share of £1m to develop new 5G applications and services.

The government wants to encourage research projects that will help the UK take full advantage of its future 5G infrastructure.

Research into the next generation of mobile technology has already attracted millions of pounds of investment from network operators, technology providers and universities.

More than £70m has been invested in the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which was officially opened at the University of Surrey last month.

The 5GIC, home to more than 170 researchers from around the world, is the world’s largest academic centre dedicated to mobile and wireless connectivity.

It has already filed 15 patents and has developed technology capable of transferring data at 1Tbps – more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed.

Now Innovate UK – a government agency funding innovations in science and technology – is offering a financial incentive for businesses to help the UK become what it calls an “early exploiter” of 5G.

Businesses working with academic or research institutions, or with communications providers, can apply for a share of £1m between 7 December and 20 January.

Innovate UK said it expects the total cost of projects to range between £150,000 and £220,000, and to last between nine and 12 months.

Small businesses could receive up to 70% of their costs, medium-sized businesses 60% and large businesses 50%.

'Record-breaking speeds'

A briefing event for potential applicants will take place in London on 10 December.

5GIC director, Professor Rahim Tafazolli, has previously said that whilst they have already achieved "record-breaking speeds" at the centre, 5G is not only about delivering faster mobile internet.

“It is a transformative set of technologies that will radically change our private and professional lives by enabling innovative applications and services, such as remote healthcare, wireless robots, driverless cars and connected homes and cities, removing boundaries between the real and cyber worlds.”

Ericsson has announced that it plans to extend its 5G research and development programme to include new partners across Europe.

Its ‘5G for Europe’ programme will create pilot projects for possible 5G solutions in the transport, utilities, public safety and retail industries.

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