Ericsson pledged to spend tens of millions of pounds on 6G research in the UK across a decade, with work set to cover a range of areas including hardware security, AI, cognitive networks and energy efficiency.

At a media event, Ericsson outlined its efforts in the country would contribute to global research towards the next generation of network technology. It will be one of a number of centres and schemes the vendor is involved in across several of its major markets.

The UK centre will employ 20 dedicated researchers alongside supporting PhD students, who will work alongside academics and industry players on 6G projects. Its initial focus will be on networking and hardware security, before looking into other areas.

“There are a number of global programmes already: Europe has already initiated a number of 6G-type programmes, the US as well, and all the big nations are so we’re keen to get this up in the UK,” Ericsson UK and Ireland CEO Katherine Ainley said.

Ericsson noted it hopes the UK facility will be part of wider efforts in the country, with the government working on a strategy for the next generation of mobile technology.

The vendor expects 6G to become available in the 2030s, broadly in-line with industry estimates, though some are targeting more aggressive timelines.

Ericsson anticipates the technology to support the merging of the digital and physical world, provide so-called limitless connectivity and offer wide societal benefits.

Potential use cases include multi-sensory extended reality, precision healthcare, smart agriculture, collaborative robots and intelligent autonomous systems.