Ericsson announced the launch of the 5G Exchange (5GEx) project, an EU-backed effort that also counts a number of operators and vendors among its backers.

Other participants include operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia and Telefonica I+D, vendors Atos, HP and Huawei, and academic institutions in Greece, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the UK.

The project intends to address the fact that “market fragmentation has resulted in a multitude of network operators each focused on different countries and regions”.

“This makes it difficult to create infrastructure services spanning multiple countries, such as virtual connectivity or computer resources, as no single operator has a footprint everywhere,” the project documentation said.

The intention is to deliver a “unified European 5G infrastructure service market that integrates multiple operators and technologies”.

For operators and content providers, this will lead to automated service provisioning with reduced time to market. And enterprises and vertical industries will have the flexibility to define, deploy and control service architectures on demand.

Ericsson, which is leading the project, said it will focus on supporting cross-domain service orchestration over multiple administrations or multi-domain single administrations. Orchestration will be compatible with NFV and SDN technology.

End-to-end network and service elements will be able to mix in multi-vendor, heterogeneous technology and resource environments.

The EU is contributing €7.9 million to the project. It is one of 17 projects being supported, from 78 initial proposals.

The 5GEx project runs from October 2015 to March 2018.