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Nokia, Ericsson, Atos, Intel, Orange, Siemens, TIM and Telefonica are all supporting the initiative.

This week the European Commission announced that the newly created Joint Undertaking on Smart Networks and Services towards 6G (SNS JU) adopted its first Work Programme 2021-2022. The programme has earmarked public funding of about € 240 million. The Work Programme 2021-2022 will fund activities ranging from 5G evolution including large-scale trials and pilots with vertical industries to frontier research towards 6G systems.

The European partnership on Smart Networks and Services (SNS), a Joint Undertaking co-led by industry and the Commission with close involvement of Member States, sets the strategic R&I roadmap for Europe. The initiative builds on an EU contribution of €900 million over the next 7 years. The private sector will match that investment with the same amount.

The aim is to enable European players to build the R&I capacities for 6G systems and develop lead markets for 5G infrastructure as a basis for the digital and green transformation.

Aiming to “support EU wide synergies”

The SNS JU Governing Board adopted the SNS Work Programme this week. The programme will form the basis for Calls for Proposals they will issue in early 2022. It sets out four main complementary work streams.

Stream A will develop smart communication components, systems, and networks for 5G Evolution systems. A second Stream (Stream B) will support research for radical technology advancement. This is in preparation for 6G and radical advancements of IoT, devices and software. Stream C will focus on SNS Enablers and Proof of Concept (PoCs). This includes development of experimental infrastructure(s) that could help during later phases of SNS.

Finally, Stream D will foster Large Scale SNS Trials and Pilots with Verticals. This includes providing the required infrastructure to explore and demonstrate technologies and advanced applications. It would also encompass advanced services in the vertical domains.

SNS Support Actions (CSA) will support the four Streams to encourage EU wide synergies and directionality. It also hopes to expand international cooperation.

This Work Programme 2021-2022 builds the first phase of the SNS roadmap. The programme will expand the early wave of European 6G projects launched in January 2021 under the 5G-PPP. The four Streams will evolve into new frontier research, proof of concept, standardisation, and deployment in subsequent phases. They could also open new opportunities for technology development across the broader supply chain. Examples of such development could include as microelectronics or cloud based service provisioning.