The European Commission (EC) is to invest €700 million ($965 million) in 5G research and development in a bid to improve the competitiveness of the region’s mobile communications industry.
The plans form part of the EC’s Horizon 2020 program, which will see a total of €6.2 billion injected into eight Public Private Partnerships in areas deemed to be of strategic importance to Europe.
Besides 5G, the EC has also announced support for research into factories of the future, energy-efficient buildings, the European green vehicles initiative, the sustainable process industry, photonics, robotics and high-performance computing.
Authorities believe that every €1 of public funding will trigger additional investments of between €3 and €10 to give European industry “a leading position on world markets”.
“This is a great opportunity for Europe,” said Neelie Kroes, the vice president of the EC with responsibility for the Digital Agenda. “These PPPs will maintain our global lead in robotics, photonics, high-performance computing, telecoms and give us a head start in smart cities, intelligent transport, education, entertainment, media and other promising markets.”
The goal of the 5G PPP will be to provide advances including a 1,000 times increase in wireless capacity serving more than seven billion people and the creation of a secure and dependable internet with “zero perceived downtime for services”.
Authorities say they expect research to boost the competitiveness of the European telecoms industry by fostering closer links between all “key actors”, including research and academic institutions and end users.
“The ultimate benefits are to provide solutions to important societal challenges as identified in the Digital Agenda, for instance drastic energy reduction in network operations and optimized radio frequency usage,” said the EC.
According to EC data, the European telecoms sector currently employs about 1.2 million people and accounts for 27% of the €17,000 billion global market.