Ericsson to receive 6G R&D funding from German government

Nordic kit vendor Ericsson will receive funding from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action to work on the development of 6G radio microelectronics.

The funding, which the vendor will receive over a five-year period, will be used for a project aiming to advance semiconductor technology and to drive the energy efficiency and sustainability of microelectronics and communication technologies in 6G massive multiple-input multiple-output (massive MIMO) radios.

By using massive MIMO technology more data can be transmitted and received through the same radio network, thus increasing network capacity without the need to increase spectral use. As a result, Ericsson considers the technology as key for 6G and a way to reduce energy consumption in the network.

While this project is part of a wider European Union (EU) initiative, the Important Project of Common European Interest on Microelectronics and Communication Technologies (IPCEI-ME/CT), it allows for funding at the national level if the projects are thought of as significantly contributing to growth and competitiveness in the region’s industrial sector, which seemingly the German government believes to be the case.

The focus of the project as such is on the early development of 6G Massive MIMO radios in order to strengthen the region’s semiconductor ecosystem and establish a whole value chain. Overall, the EU initiative provides up to €8.1 billion in public funding to 56 companies undertaking 68 projects supporting research and development in microelectronics and communication technologies covering anything and everything from materials, tools, to designing chips and manufacturing processes.

“The introduction of the 5G mobile communications standard already opened up a multitude of new applications beyond voice and mobile data.” said Freddie Södergren, Head of Technology and Strategy, Ericsson Networks. “Upcoming 6G mobile networks need to meet the ever-increasing demand for communication in the areas of human-to-human, human-to-machine, and machine-to-machine in a highly energy-efficient way.”

“As a key technology, microelectronics plays a central role in climate protection, energy efficiency and economic growth” adds the German federal minister Robert Habeck. “Independent access to microelectronics components is more important than ever for the transformation of the economy and for the security of supply of Germany and Europe.”

While the text of the announcement did not disclose the specific amount of funding Ericsson is to receive, the jolly picture of Robert Habeck and others included in the Ericsson press release references a €4 billion check. Given that the total EU pot is €8.1 billion in public funding and there are 68 projects to be undertaken by 56 companies, if that’s the figure it seems the Ericsson team is getting the lion’s share.


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