The UK government has announced a £110 million investment in research and development for next-generation wireless technology and telecoms security, with a focus on 5G and 6G. This investment is intended to enhance the UK’s position as a global leader in telecoms research and development.
As part of this investment, three top UK universities – the University of York, the University of Bristol, and the University of Surrey – will each receive £28 million to collaborate with major telecoms companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung to develop and create future networks such as 6G. This follows Ericsson and Samsung’s recent announcement to establish 6G research labs in the UK. The investment will also aid in the deployment of ultrafast 5G by making it easier for new companies to enter the market.
The universities will work with world-class UK academics and industry players to ensure that future network technologies, including 6G, are designed in a way that promotes a more diverse and innovative telecoms market and ends the current setup in which all network equipment must come from a single supplier.
In addition to the university funding, the investment package includes £80 million for the construction of a cutting-edge UK Telecoms Lab in Solihull, West Midlands. The National Physical Laboratory will serve as a secure research center for mobile network operators, suppliers, and academics to develop and test the security, resilience, and performance of their 5G and, in the future, 6G network technologies under a new contract signed by the government. The lab will also provide the region with dozens of specialist jobs in telecommunications and cyber security.
The UK government has also started a new R&D collaboration with the Republic of Korea, with the goal of accelerating the adoption of Open RAN and related technologies. The collaborative project, which will receive more than £3 million (including £1.2 million from the UK government), will focus on the power efficiency of developing technological equipment, which is one of the major barriers to the widespread use of this new technology.