EE, Telefonica and Vodafone join a long list of big-name industry players throwing their weight behind the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) planned by the University of Surrey.
The consortium, backed by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, also includes Aeroflex, Aircom International, BBC, BT, Fujitsu, Huawei, Rohde & Schwarz and Samsung. They have pledged both expertise and hard cash to the centre.
More than £30 million has been raised so far, which will be added to the £11.6 million awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England in autumn last year.
The project will include the development of a 5G “test bed”, based on the University campus, on which to test technologies in a real-world environment.
5GIC planning permission has been granted and expected completion date is January 2015.
The mobile operators backing 5GIC were fulsome in their praise for the initiative.
David Salam, director of network Strategy at EE, said “very early investment in 5G ensures that we’re all ready for the next step, and that Britain takes a leading position in the future of the global mobile industry”.
Derek McManus, COO of Telefónica UK, added that the centre “marks the first step in preparing for the next generation of digital connectivity, where we will see applications and services that are scarcely imaginable today”.
Luke Ibbetson, director of Vodafone Group R&D, welcomed the launch of a “world class UK-based research lab for future technologies”.