The strategic partnership on Smart Networks and Services has a research budget of over €900m to 2027 to work on 6G technologies and boost the rollout of 5G, superceding the existing 5G-PPP operation.
The move is a deliberate shift to foster Europe’s technological ‘sovereignty’ in 6G.
“A key differentiator to the predecessor, the 5G-PPP, will be a new governance model putting the European industry in the driving seat together with the Commission and closely associating Member States to its strategic decision making, for example in the area of Europe’s technological sovereignty and maximizing synergies between European and national funding programmes,” said partnership.
The proposal for the new scheme will now be discussed among Member States in the Council with a planned launch in autumn 2021.
The Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking is one of nine under the €10bn Horizon Europe programme. This will work alongside the €1.8bn Joint Undertaking in Key Digital Technologies which covers the design, manufacture and integration of electronics components in systems and the related software where a possible new 'Important Project of Common European Interest' is under discussion. “This new partnership will help boost competitiveness and Europe's technological sovereignty.” said the digital undertaking.
As well as 6G, the Smart Networks project will also boost 5G deployment in Europe to develop digital lead markets and of enabling the digital and green transition of the economy and society, particularly with 5G corridors. It will also contribute to the coordination with national programmes including under the Recovery and Resilience Facility as well as other European programmes and facilities such as Digital Europe Programme and InvestEU.
Operators in 23 EU countries have already launched commercial 5G networks in major cities, with more comprehensive deployment covering all urban areas and major transport paths across Europe expected by 2025. These 5G networks are key enablers for a broad range of consumer, business and industrial services, but will