The imminent launch by mobile operator Everything Everywhere of the UK’s 4G services (with others to follow in 2013 when spectrum is auctioned) comes just 2 weeks after announcement of government research funding for 5G.
The £11.6m from the UK’s Research Partnership investment fund will be more than matched by a further £24m from a consortium of mobile infrastructure providers and operators. The funds enable a 5G innovation centre to get underway at Surrey University.
Since the heady days of 2G (GSM) Europe has lost pole position in mobile technologies although we should not forget that Cambridge-based ARM has a dominant presence in billions of mobile devices.
The shape of mobile things to come is highly speculative and, with pressure for ever-greater spectrum efficiency and higher-capacity links to support bigger and faster applications, there is a huge interdependency on the adequacy of the fixed digital network to handle the traffic from thousands of smaller localised mobile base stations.
The expected explosion of demand for M2M devices and ‘The Internet of Things’ may already be stretching the limits of 4G and no-one imagines that the global standards-making process for 5G is going to be an easy collaborative ride.
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