EC grants €50 million to fund 5G mobile technology

Several EU flags hoisted outside a building

The European Commission has announced it will grant 50 million for research to deliver 5G mobile technology by 2020, with the aim to put Europe back in the lead of the global mobile industry.

The plans are part of European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes' overall strategy to improve mobile networks in the EU.

"I want 5G to be pioneered by European industry, based on European research and creating jobs in Europe - and we will put our money where our mouth is," she said.

The EU said that by 2020 worldwide mobile traffic will by increase 33 times compared to the 2010 figures and this will require new technologies that go beyond 4G.

The money will to go to a number of research projects such as iJOIN, TROPIC, COMBO and MOTO, which will look at the architecture and functionality needs for the next generation of mobile networks. Any 5G technology has yet to be standardised by any telecommunications body.

One Project, METIS, will receive an extra 16 million in new funding. This project is focused on creating a system that will support massive increases in data volumes, mobile devices as well as increasing battery life for low power machine-to-machine communications.

The European Commission said that it has allocated more than 700 million from 2007 to 2013 for research on future networks, half of which went to 4G wireless technologies.

"Europe used to lead the world in wireless: we invented the GSM standard, we once dominated devices. Yet now we are falling behind. Overtaken to the East and the West," said Kroes in a speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"We urgently need to catch up. To reclaim a strong wireless industry. To cement a strong economy. And to give people the technological tools to access and create opportunity."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.