The EU-funded Fantastic-5G (Flexible Air iNTerfAce for Scalable service delivery wiThin wIreless Communication networks of the 5th Generation) project focused on preparing for the roll-out of 5G, the next generation of telecommunications systems. 5G will link wired and wireless communications and provide ultra-high bandwidth to users and connected objects like household appliances, sensors, cars and more (the Internet of Things).
The project has developed technologies that will enable 5G networks to meet the needs of all the devices that use them. Some, such as autonomous vehicles, will need very quick responses from the network to which they are connected. Other devices will require extremely high data rates, or have to operate in an extremely energy-efficient manner to ensure that their batteries last a long time.
Fantastic-5G was part of the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership, a joint initiative between the European Commission and European ICT industry. In order to prepare Europe’s networks and devices for 5G, the project developed a new air interface technology that transmits information between internet-connected devices and base stations in a network. In the future, the number of connected devices is predicted to increase by a factor of between 10 and 100, and the demand for wireless data is expected to be much greater than now. This new air interface had to be flexible enough to meet these requirements. Also, in order to meet the many different needs of 5G devices, the new interface needs to provide extensive network coverage and high capacity, and to be future-proof, allowing 5G services to be delivered into the next decade.
The Fantastic-5G consortium brought together 18 partners, 7 from academic institutions and 11 from industry covering all relevant parts of the value chain for wireless cellular communications. Researchers filed 13 patents linked to the new air interface. They also worked towards standardising the technologies needed to deliver 5G.
Fantastic-5G in brief
- Total Budget: 7 986 858.75 (EU contribution: EUR 7 986 858)
- Duration: 07/2015-06/2017
- Countries involved: Germany (coordinator), Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom
Key figures in the European Union
- The European Commission is funding the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership with EUR 700 million from the Horizon 2020 programme.
- By 2020, there will be 26 billion connected devices, and 70% of people will own a smartphone.
- Worldwide revenues from 5G for mobile operators are expected to reach EUR 225 billion annually by 2025.
The "fifth generation" of telecommunications systems - 5G - will make use of a cloud-based wired and wireless communications infrastructure to provide ultra-fast mobile internet access. Enhanced connectivity will support high volumes of mobile video traffic, better network coverage in dense crowds and sparsely populated areas, use of time-critical applications such as connected cars and remote surgery, connectivity for smart appliances and devices, and many other developments. The European Commission’s 5G Action Plan aims to build momentum for investment in 5G networks, so that 5G can be deployed on a large scale by 2020. The Commission’s proposed Connecting Europe Facility funding programme for 2021-27 has allocated EUR 3 billion for cross-border digital projects, including supporting the deployment of 5G networks.