Starting in January 2010, the EU is to invest €18m (£15.5m) into research that will underpin next-generation 4G mobile networks. The funding into so-called ‘Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced’ technology will offer mobile internet speeds up to a hundred times faster than current 3G networks.
‘Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the latest wireless technology, providing mobile internet speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, ten times faster than 3G mobile networks. LTE will turn mobile phones into powerful mobile computers, and millions of new users will get ultra high-speed internet access on their portable devices, wherever they are,’ said Viviane Reding, the EU’s commissioner for telecoms and media.
In Europe, LTE is currently being trialled by mobile operators in Finland, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK, and is expected to be commercially available in Sweden and Norway in the first half of 2010.
Between 2004 and 2007, the EU supported research on optimisation and standardisation of LTE (the WINNER I and II projects, run by a consortium of 41 leading European companies and universities) with €25m (£21.5m). This led to the development of the first concept for a LTE-based network infrastructure.
Last month, the European Commission decided to invest the further €18m into research on the enhanced version of LTE, LTE Advanced, which will propel mobile broadband speeds up to 1Gb/sec.
In September, the Commission will start to negotiate the details of the €18m funding with project consortia, including the flagship ARTIST4G that builds on the achievements of the WINNER projects and unites 4G industry and researchers from Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
The projects are expected to start in January 2010. EU research on networks of the future and LTE can be found here.