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5G Innovation Centre boss: It's not just about faster mobile internet

Wednesday, September 16th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A centre set up to research the next generation of mobile technology was officially opened yesterday at the University of Surrey.

The 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) is the world’s largest academic research centre dedicated to mobile and wireless connectivity.

Home to more than 170 researchers, it has attracted more than £70m of investment, including £12m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The 5GIC has already filed 15 patents and developed technology for transferring data at 1Tbps – more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the 5GIC, said: “While we have already achieved record-breaking speeds, 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.”

He said those capabilities would make 5G a “special generation” of connectivity.

“The true impact of 5G will come from the innovative applications the new network will enable, some of which are yet to be realised,” he added.

As well as bringing together some of the world’s leading academics, the 5GIC is working with a number of key industry partners including EE, Huawei, O2, Vodafone, BT, the BBC, Samsung, Ofcom and Three.

'Impact the world'

“The ethos of the centre is not built on competition but co-operation,” said Prof Tafazolli.

“5G will be achieved through global collaboration so that everyone will benefit from working to a single standard.

“This technology will then be commercialised from 2020, driving economic development and research for the UK, while delivering research that will impact the world.”

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone’s group research and development director, said: “A fundamental 5G requirement is to enable compelling new use cases and deliver a level of performance, cost and energy efficiency which is a real ‘step change’ ahead of current mobile technologies.

“5GIC has the facilities and world class academic resources to undertake primary research and demonstrate how well the emerging 5G technologies work under real world conditions, in a way which is meaningful for customers.”

Paul Ceely, head of network strategy at EE, added: “This is a great start in the UK's development to become the world leader in 5G.

“Mobile services become more and more central to businesses and consumers every year, and the 5GIC will be central to building the next generation of wireless connectivity.”

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