While 4G phones are slowly becoming commonplace (at the high-end) in North America, the United Kingdom is still waiting for its first 4G network to launch (it's scheduled to do so at the end of this month). In fact, it wasn't for Everything Everywhere's decision to repurpose some of its existing spectrum to provide LTE service sooner, folks in the UK would be waiting an awful lot longer for their 4G service. However, just because 4G service has been slow to roll out, that doesn't mean the industry isn't already thinking beyond LTE.
The University of Surrey has just gotten approved for funding for a specialized 5G research center worth £35 million. The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) is prepared to fork out £11.6 million in government money for the cause, while a further £24 million in funding will come from a consortium of key mobile operators and infrastructure providers including Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica Europe, Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, Rohde & Schwarz and AIRCOM International.
"Although the UK played an active role in the creation of 2G (GSM) cellular standards, it has increasingly fallen behind in succeeding generations 3G and 4G standards," Professor Rahim Tafazolli, head of the University of Surrey's Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR), said in a statement. "The University’s industry partners have identified this proposal as the single biggest opportunity for the UK to regain a world leading position in the development of 5G technologies and for the development of vibrant businesses around the technologies."