Launch of £30m 5G Supply Chain Future Radio Access Network Competition

Consortia of tech and telecoms innovators can access funding for projects that aim to turn the UK into a leading global destination for developing the next generation of 5G networks.

The Government has launched new a competition that support the goals of the its 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy. The aim is to fund innovative R&D projects across the UK, speeding up the adoption of a new breed of wireless communication technology – Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN). This technology allows equipment from multiple suppliers to be used in 5G networks and will end their current dependence on one company’s technology to function.

Tech and telecoms innovators are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that will help to fast-track the availability of viable Open RAN products and suppliers, and create a stronger case for government and business investment in the technology.

Proposals could include exploring issues around power efficiency, the management of radio wave ‘spectrum’ resource, the availability of advanced software platforms, systems integration and security.

There is up to £30 million of funding available in this competition. Grants ranging from £250,000 to £5 million will be made available to individual projects lasting up to 18 months.

This competition is open to applications from consortia with two or more members with funding available for activity taking place in the UK.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:

‘This competition aims to get some of our most creative minds helping the UK safely and securely deliver the amazing benefits of 5G for people and businesses.

‘It is a major part of our plans to harness the country’s tech prowess, open up the telecoms market, and create new jobs and investment as we build back better from the pandemic.’

The deadline for applications is 27 August 2021.