Will Europe lead the charge towards the next global communication standards and the next generation of mobile and telecoms technology? Will future ubiquitous, ultra-high bandwidth communication infrastructure – also known as 5G – be pioneered by European industry? Will this be a huge job-creator for Europe? EU research and innovation policy is doubling down on a ‘yes’ to all these questions.

Europe has a strong background and established prominence in wireless communications and cellular systems, however in the area of internet and cloud applications there are stronger players in other regions of the world. Taking into account the need for convergence and integration of wireless communication and IT in the 5G domain, experts believe European players need to join forces in the research and standardisation process.

Europe has the funds, the will and the expertise to succeed here. From 2007 to 2013, the European Union set aside €700 million of funding (FP7) for research on future networks, half of which was earmarked for wireless technologies and the development of 4G and beyond-4G technologies.  

METIS, 5GNOW, iJOIN, TROPIC, Mobile Cloud Networking, COMBO, MOTO and PHYLAWS are some of the latest EU research projects that address the architecture and functionality needs of 5G (beyond-4G) networks, representing some €50 million EU investment.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes recently announced a reinforced commitment for research to deliver 5G mobile technology and ubiquitous networks by 2020. A move, experts say, that is aimed squarely at returning Europe to its prominence at the head of the global mobile industry.

"I want 5G to be pioneered by European industry, based on European research and creating jobs in Europe – and we will put our money where our mouth is," Commissioner Kroes said.

At the World Mobile Congress 2013 in Barcelona she also called on EU industry and other partners to support and join the European Commission in a public-private partnership in this area. This partnership is expected to be of strategic importance, not only for the European telecommunications sector, but also for the economy and society as a whole, with bold support to innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

More info


Press Release – EUR 50 million EU research grants in 2013 to develop '5G' technology


Speech – Smashing barriers and thinking big


Report from Future Networks 11th Concertation Meeting, Panel Session ‘5G: Challenges ahead’