Telecommunications specialist Ericsson will invest tens of millions of pounds in 6G research in the UK, working with universities and industry partners in network security, AI and cognitive networking.

The Swedish company, that has already been delivery of 5G networks over the world, said that this 10-year partnership would help develop next-gen 6G networks, which are expected to be commercially available in the 2030s.

The investment is not just a vote of confidence in the UK, which has sought to protect its funding for scientific research after Brexit. It also expands Ericsson’s collaboration with other European countries working on 6G development.

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The company is a member of the EU Project Reindeer, a consortium charged with the development of wireless access infrastructure. It is also the technical manager of the Hexa-Xthe European flagship initiative for 6G, which aims to lay the foundations for 6G technology and assess its potential benefits.

6G – as in, the sixth-generation mobile network – is touted to offer amazing capabilities: speeds in excess of 1 Terabit and response times of less than a millisecond.

This level of connectivity should not only improve communication and interoperability, but should also enable critical applications that are currently out of reach. Think of things like intelligent autonomous machines, precision healthcare, smart agriculture and multi-sensory extended reality (“The Internet of Senses”).

Ultimately, 6G technology is expected to fuse digital and physical realities, enabling unprecedented digitization and automation that would facilitate the energy efficiency and sustainability goals of the physical world.

Such new applications and technologies would provide strategic opportunities for European actors to develop new markets and pave the way for companies to take advantage of this technology. These could be, for example, microchips for 6G, next-generation cloud technology, quantum computing or smart city infrastructure.

With the transformative potential of 6G, it’s no wonder that Europe set out his vision to develop the technology – but this will not be an easy undertaking. So any investment in research and development (like Ericsson’s) counts if it’s going to benefit the continent as much as possible.

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