The director of the University of Surrey’s 5G innovation centre, Rahim Tafazolli, has reiterated the goal of having the new network commercialised by 2020.
Speaking at the opening of the new centre, Tafazolli said that the new platform was about more than just high speeds: ‘While we have already achieved record-breaking speeds, 5G is not only about delivering faster mobile internet.
'It is a transformative set of technologies that will radically change our private and professional lives by enabling innovative applications and services, such as remote healthcare, wireless robots, driverless cars and connected homes and cities, removing boundaries between the real and cyber worlds. These capabilities make 5G a ‘special generation’ of connectivity.
‘The true impact of 5G will come from the innovative applications the new network will enable, some of which are yet to be realised. The opening of the centre today marks an important step in allowing those from across the globe to work with us in developing the new network, and for partners, other universities and industry to test out their new applications in a real-world setting, before they are brought to market.’
The new centre’s chief also said that the 2020 aim would be achieved through collaboration rather than competition between different companies: ‘The ethos of the centre is not built on competition but co-operation. 5G will be achieved through global collaboration so that everyone will benefit from working to a single standard. This technology will then be commercialised from 2020, driving economic development and research for the UK, while delivering research that will impact the world.’
The centre will house more than 170 researchers and has raised more than £70 million of investment. It is designed to bring together leading academic expertise and major industry partners to define and develop a global 5G network. The centre already boasts that these researchers have developed a technology that enables speeds of one terabit per second (Tbps) – more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed – and has filed more than 15 patents.
Also present at the launch was Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, who said: ‘The development of 5G presents a significant economic opportunity, and this world-leading centre will position the UK at the forefront of research into the next generation of communications technology. The Government wants Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate and we are committed to supporting collaborations like this one to ensure pioneering research continues to improve people’s lives.’