Eurobites: UK Govt Sinks £25M Into 5G Testbeds

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia targets the enterprise with SBC; the state of OTT video in MEA.

  • The UK government has announced the six winners of a competition to win funding for 5G testbed projects. The winners, who will share a £25 million (US$34.7 million) funding pot, are largely based in the public sector base, and feature partnerships with the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). The six projects are as follows:

      - 5G RuralFirst: Led by Cisco and the University of Strathclyde, this project is based partly in the Orkney Islands and partly in the farmlands of Shropshire and Somerset, and aims to "deliver deliver testbeds and trials to exploit 5G benefits for rural communities and industries like agriculture, broadcasting, and utilities." Grant amount: £4.3 million ($5.9 million).

      - 5G Smart Tourism: Led by the West of England Combined Authority, this testbed will focus on delivering "enhanced visual experiences for tourists" using augmented reality and virtual reality in major attractions. Grant amount £5 million ($6.9 million).

      - Worcestershire 5G Consortium: Led by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and involving Huawei and BT, this testbed will focus on ways to increase industrial productivity through preventative and assisted maintenance using robotics, big data analytics and AR over 5G. Grant amount: £5 million ($6.9 million).

      - Liverpool 5G Testbed: Led by Sensor City, which will oversee a consortium made up of public sector health suppliers, the NHS, university researchers, local SMEs and an unnamed UK 5G technology vendor, the project will seek to use 5G in deprived communities of the city to reduce the "digital divide." Grant amount: £3.5 million ($4.8 million).

      - AutoAir: Led by Airspan Communications, the project will aim to to make 5G technologies available for the development of connected and autonomous vehicles at the Millbrook vehicle proving ground. Grant value: £4.1 million ($5.7 million).

      - 5G Rural Integrated Testbed (5GRIT): Led by Quickline Communications, this project will be trialing the use of 5G across a range of rural applications, including agriculture and tourism. Grant amount: £2.1 million ($2.9 million).

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has unveiled a new cloud-native enterprise session border controller (eSBC) that it says brings secure, ultra-high-quality IP voice and video services to enterprise customers. The eSBC draws on Nuage Networks' SD-WAN capabilities to optimize media routing between enterprise branches.

  • A new report from Ovum Ltd. predicts that there will be 12.94 million premium online video subscribers at the end of 2018 across Africa and the Middle East, with the Middle East responsible for the bulk of the growth. The report, "OTT Video Subscription Service Provider Forecast: Middle East and Africa, 2011–22," also forecasts that Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) will enjoy the largest subscriber base, with around 3 million, with Amazon trailing well behind.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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