A consortium of Telecom industry vendors, IT companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and academic organisations in Europe has been awarded €8 million research funding to develop the infrastructure required to support the future 5G network and communication systems.

As part of the European Commission funded Horizon 2020 programme named Project SESAME, innovative small cell solutions provider, ip.access, has been included in the consortium led by Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE). The 30 month research and development programme will design and demonstrate virtualised, cloud-enabled, multi-operator, frequency agile, 5G-oriented radio access and services.

Starting from July 2015, Project SESAME targets innovations around the three central elements of 5G: network intelligence through Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and Mobile Edge Cloud Computing, substantial evolution of the Small Cell concept to create targeted coverage and capacity, and the consolidation of multi-tenancy in mobile network infrastructure; allowing several operators and service providers to engage in new sharing models. The Project SESAME consortium includes 18 members that span the European Union, including the UK, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Greece.

“The old model for cellular, with dedicated hardware and dedicated spectrum per operator is breaking down,” said Dr. Nick Johnson, CTO of ip.access. “As demand continues to grow exponentially, with limited additional spectrum, flat subscriber growth and falling revenues per subscriber, new ways have to be found to use the resources we have more efficiently. This project does this by allowing spectrum to be shared between operators in a controllable, measurable and agile way.”

While standards-based solutions exist to address some of these issues, this project builds beyond the current state-of-the-art infrastructure, to make a commercially compelling, technically advanced solution for next generation 5G mobile networks.

“It sets the scene for hardware resources to be virtualised by providing new services close to the network edge, and places it within a standards-based context for maximum competitiveness and value to the consumer,” Dr. Johnson continued.

“We are pleased to welcome ip.access to the SESAME consortium. They bring a rare combination of technical excellence and innovative thinking that will benefit the project immensely”, says Dr Ioannis Chochliourous, head of research programmes, Fixed and Mobile Network Evolution, OTE, and Project Coordinator for SESAME.