The European Commission again put its weight behind the development of 5G, saying in a memo that the technology will be “a leap, not a step, forward”.
Neelie Kroes, the vice president of the European Commission, said the much-hyped technology will be more than just the next step beyond 4G networks now being rolled out, as it “offers totally new possibilities to connect people, and also things – being cars, houses, energy infrastructures. All of them at once, wherever you and they are”.
The roadmap of the 5G Public-Private Partnership, initiated by the EC and industry players in December last year, suggests that 5G standards will boost wireless capacity so that it is 1,000 times higher than in 2010, and will bring about energy savings per service of up to 90 per cent.
The Partnership also claims it will reduce service creation time from 90 hours to 90 minutes and support more than seven trillion connected devices and seven billion people.
The European Union invested €50 million in 5G projects nearly two years ago and the Public-Private Partnership on 5G was launched by the Commission with an indicative budget of €700 million.
In February, Kroes called for a global consensus on 5G by 2015, while the European Commission partnered with South Korea earlier this month to work towards a global definition of 5G and cooperate in research around the technology.
The European Union is funding a number of 5G research projects to determine the technical requirements so that people and businesses can benefit from the technology.
The deployment of very dense networks is one area of research, to tackle the capacity crunch forecast to occur within the next decade. Research includes looking at ways to facilitate spectrum sharing between these kinds of networks with the potential to increase capacity by a factor of 10.
Another project is finding new ways to use spectrum. For example, research showed that if the transmission and reception of devices can be isolated, they can use the same frequency without interfering with each other, effectively doubling capacity. Current devices use different frequencies to avoid interference.
The EU has also earmarked €16 million to fund the Ericsson-coordinated METIS project, which is defining the architecture for future 5G networks by driving the pre-standardisation and regulation processes.
Ericsson’s CTO Ulf Ewaldsson told Mobile World Live this week that there was a risk of exaggerating what 5G can achieve but suggested the technology can deliver on expectations with speeds exceeding those on fixed networks.
“We need to push the envelope strongly to make sure we have something advanced enough if we are talking about 2020, and that’s why we demonstrated what we are doing with operators,” he said.