Government confirms £35m funding for ‘5G centre’

The fund made up of government and private sector money will create a new centre for the University of Surrey to develop mobile broadband solutions

The government is providing funds for a new project for the University of Surrey to develop the next generation of mobile broadband systems.

Money for the research will be part of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, which chancellor George Osborne revealed would receive an extra £200m of cash, in his Conservative Party conference speech today.

The Surrey University scheme will receive £11.6m from the government and a further £24m from a consortium of mobile specialists from the private sector to work on “5th generation cellular communications.”

As a result, the research facility has been dubbed “the 5G centre,” despite being announced before the first 4G network even goes live in the UK.

Huawei has been confirmed as one of the partners by the university, showing more support from the UK for the Chinese firm at a time when a US Congress committee is claiming using Huawei products could pose a threat to national security.

Other vendors also on board with the project include Samsung, Telefonica Europe, Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, Rohde-Schwarz and Aircom International.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, who runs the university’s Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR), believes the project will bring a real boost to the UK mobile industry

“Although the UK played an active role in the creation of 2G (GSM) cellular standards, it has increasingly fallen behind in succeeding generations of 3G and 4G standards,” he said.

“The university’s industry partners have identified this proposal as the single biggest opportunity for the UK to regain a world leading position in the development of 5G technologies and for the development of vibrant businesses around the technologies.”

A spokesman from Surrey University said the 5G centre is due to open in the middle of 2014. 

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