Sergej Khackimullin - Fotolia

EC awards €8m to consortium to develop cloud-enabled 5G network

Consortium led by incumbent Greek telco OTE awarded €8m of funding to support RAN virtualisation and mobile edge cloud computing for 5G networks

Project Sesame, a consortium of telecoms, IT suppliers and academic institutions led by incumbent Greek telco OTE has been handed a grant of €8m by the European Commission (EC) to develop 5G networking infrastructure.

The project sits in the 5G Public Private Partnership, which has €700m of public funding available as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and development programme, which has a total of €80bn to spend through to 2020.

Sesame stands for “Small cEllS coordinAtion for Multi-tenancy and Edge services” and will focus on radio access network (RAN) virtualisation, mobile edge cloud computing and evolutions of small cell technology to create targeted coverage and capacity.

It will also explore the adoption of multi-tenancy models in mobile networks, allowing operators and service providers to engage in the latest sharing models.

The project hopes to design and demonstrate a virtualised, cloud-enabled, multi-operator, frequency-agile network within 30 months.

Among the companies participating in the consortium is Cambridge-based ip.access, a specialist supplier of small cell networks, which has products live in 100 customer networks worldwide.

Nick Johnson, chief technology officer at ip.access, explained that, as demand for mobile network spectrum grows exponentially, new ways will have to be found to use the resources already available.

“This project does this by allowing spectrum to be shared between operators in a controllable, measurable and agile way,” said Johnson.

“It sets the scene for hardware resources to be virtualised by providing new services close to the network edge and places it within a standards-based context for maximum competitiveness and value to the consumer,” he said.

The University of Surrey, which has been a key cog in the development of 5G network technology in the UK, is also participating in the programme, alongside the University of Brighton, the University of the Basque Country, the Technical University of Catalonia and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. On the supplier side, Atos, Fujitsu Labs and Italtel are taking part, among others.

Read more on Mobile networks