5G research centre gets major funding grant

image captionExperts believe 5G will be in place by the year 2020.

The UK has only just seen the launch of 4G (fourth generation) mobile communication technology, but academics at Surrey University are already looking at its successor.

They have received £35m from mobile operators, infrastructure providers and the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund to fund research into 5G.

The money would be used to create a 5G Innovation Centre, said the university.

Prof Rahim Tafozolli said work had already begun.

"The boundaries between mobile communication and the internet are blurring, so the fifth generation is internet on the move," he told the BBC.

Prof Tafozolli, professor of mobile wireless communications and the director of Surrey University's Centre for Communications Systems Research, said: "4G for us is old hat. We started working on 4G 10 years ago.

"Being a university we have to be one step ahead of industry."

Statistics showed mobile data traffic is soaring, he added.

"It looks like every year the traffic is doubling. Unfortunately capacity is not doubling every year. We need to come up with technology, within the limited radio spectrum that we have, to accommodate this huge surge."

5G would also need to be more economical than its predecessor, he said.

"The cost of electricity of running the networks is very high," Prof Tafozolli said.

"We are facing systems which are too expensive. We need something extremely energy efficient and cost efficient."

5G would be in place by the year 2020, he added.

"What we have is good for the next 10 years. We need to be progressive, we can't be complacent, the area is extremely dynamic."

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