Innovate UK has announced a £1m funding programme to support businesses in investing in projects that can take advantage of the UK’s future 5G infrastructure.
The fund aims to enable further development of 5G applications and services that will help the UK to become an early adopter of the new network technology.
A Chinese delegation, which included the country’s cybersecurity minister Zhuang Rongwen, visited the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) today to oversee some of the progress being made.
The demonstrations included pioneering wireless technology that was capable of streaming ultra high-definition video, developed in partnership with Huawei, BBC R&D and the 5GIC.
Another key demonstration showed how 5G radio waveforms can support at least 300 per cent more Internet of Things devices than would be possible with 4G.
The UK’s upcoming 5G infrastructure has already seen support and investment from some of the industry’s leading players, including network operators, equipment sellers and universities.
Keith Robson, chief operating officer with 5GIC, said that global collaboration is at the heart of his organisation’s efforts and would involve working with industry and academia to develop one 5G standard.
“There is immense potential for British companies and universities to partner with their counterparts in China to take advantage of this rapidly rising global market in Internet of Things applications,” he said.
“Not only will this collaborative approach enable different innovation cultures to spark creatively off one another, but it will ensure all new applications are developed from a global perspective.
“This however would also include differentiating offers with local content, apps and language support. A number of national champions previously unknown on the global stage have already had much success with this strategy.
“Xiaomi is the most notable internationally, with strong sales growth in China allowing the company to now become the third largest smartphone maker globally behind Samsung and Apple.”
Projects that want to take advantage of money from the Innovate UK fund must apply by January 20 2016 with applications opening on December 7 2015.
Projects must be led by a business working with research institutions or communications service providers and are expected to range in size from total costs of £150,000 to £220,000 and to last nine to 12 months.
In June, the International Telecommunication Union established a road map for the development of 5G mobile networks with the aim to start rolling out the technology in 2020.
By Jack Loughran