Ericsson to Invest in 6G Network Research in UK, Will Work with Universities

Ericsson will invest millions of pounds in 6G mobile research in Britain, the network equipment maker said on Tuesday, working with universities on hardware security, AI and cognitive networks and quantum computing. The Swedish company, which supplies 5G gear to all of Britain’s mobile networks, said the 10-year plan will help develop next-generation 6G networks, which are expected to be commercially available around 2030.

Ericsson’s UK and Ireland CEO Katherine Ainley said British universities are conducting world-class research into other technologies that will support next-generation networks.

“We will establish a team of 20 experienced researchers here in the UK and we will also look at supporting students,” he said. “Our first focus will be the 6G network and hardware security.”

The new group will complement Ericsson’s 17 existing research sites in 12 countries, he said.

Partner universities include Surrey, Bristol, and Manchester, he said, adding that it usually takes 8-10 years from consultation with researchers to development of commercial technology.

The British government, which has been working to protect funding for scientific research after Brexit, said Ericsson’s investment is a “big vote of confidence” in the country’s telecommunications sector, adding that it will soon publish a strategy on 6G technology.

Earlier this year, Ericsson said it expected global 5G mobile subscriptions to surpass 1 billion by 2022, helped by higher adoption in China and North America. A weak global economy and uncertainty caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cut its 2022 estimate by nearly 100 billion, the company said in its biannual report.

The push from telecom operators to bring 5G and handset prices as low as $120 (about Rs. 10,000) has helped 5G adoption, Peter Jonsson, the report’s chief editor, said in an interview at the time. “China added about 270 million users by 2021 compared to North America, which added 65 million.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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