UK to accelerate research on 5G and 6G technology as part of £110 million telecoms R and D package

  • Three top UK universities awarded £28 million to develop next-generation 6G network technology
  • Groundbreaking £80 million fund to set up state-of-the-art UK Telecoms Lab in the West Midlands for testing network equipment
  • UK joins forces with Republic of Korea to solve power efficiency challenges in rollout of more innovative and secure networks

Research and development on next-generation 5G and 6G wireless technology and telecoms security is to be ramped up as part of a £110 million government investment.

In the package announced today, three top UK universities, University of York, University of Bristol and University of Surrey, will receive a share of £28 million to team up with major telecoms companies including Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung to design and build networks of the future such as 6G.

The move will bolster the UK’s status as a global leader in telecoms research and follows Ericsson and Samsung’s recent decision to set up cutting-edge 6G research centres in the UK. It will also support the roll out of lightning-fast 5G by making it easier for more firms to enter the market.

The universities will work with world-leading UK academics and industry players to ensure future network technologies, including 6G, are designed in a way that promotes a more diverse and innovative telecoms market, and brings an end to current network setups where all equipment within a network must be from a single supplier.

The package includes £80 million for a state-of-the-art UK Telecoms Lab being built in Solihull in the West Midlands. Under a new contract the government has signed with the National Physical Laboratory, the lab will act as a secure research facility for mobile network operators, suppliers and academics to research and test the security, resilience and performance of their 5G and, in the future, 6G network technology. The facility will also create dozens of specialised jobs in telecoms and cyber security for the region.

A new R and D partnership with the Republic of Korea has also kicked off, which aims to accelerate the deployment of Open RAN and associated technologies. The joint project, which will receive more than £3 million (including £1.2 million…