The European Commission has placed further fiscal weight behind the push towards LTE, announcing that it will kick €18 million into 4G mobile research.
The EC has been a strong supporter of LTE research funding since 2004. During 2004 - 2007, the EU supported the Winner I and II research projects on optimization and standardization of LTE which was run by a consortium of 41 European companies and universities with €25 million in commission funding.
Last month, EU member states and the European Parliament approved the commission's proposal to use the 900 MHz band available for the use in LTE and other technologies.
The commission said that based on Europe's joint research and the strength of the EU's single market, LTE should enjoy that same dominance of usage as the GSM standard.
“With LTE technologies, Europe's research 'know-how' will continue to set the tone for the development of mobile services and devices around the globe, just as we did in the past decades with the GSM standard,” said Viviane Reding, the EU's Commissioner for Telecoms and Media.
She added that LTE, providing speeds of up to 100 megabits per second would “create tremendous opportunities and plenty of space for growing the digital economy.”
LTE is currently being trialed by mobile operators in Finland, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK and is expected to be commercially available in Sweden and Norway in the first half of 2010.
Analysts forecast that operators worldwide will invest nearly € 6 billion in LTE equipment by 2013.
The commission will begin negotiating the details with project consortia in September. The new projects are expected to start in January 2010.
The EC has said that from 2007-2013 it will invest more than €700 million into research on future networks, half of which will be allocated to wireless technologies contributing to development of 4G and beyond 4G networks.