Several top tech firms were noticeably absent from the list of companies the White House named last week as members of the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Wireless Research Group. Companies like Ericsson and Brocade, which have been touting 5G as a key part of their technology roadmaps, were not on the list — but they tell SDxCentral they support the group.
The White House has dedicated $400 million to the group so that it can collaborate on 5G research and keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of wireless networking. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will lead the 5G initiative, and the group listed 18 tech companies that will participate in the research including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Juniper, Intel, Oracle, and Viavi.
Ericsson said in a statement to SDxCentral that it will join the Advanced Wireless Research Group and is preparing a contribution proposal that will go toward testing platforms.
Brocade, meanwhile, said that although it was not on the list of member companies, it is supportive of the Advanced Wireless Research group and sees it as a positive development for 5G research. A Brocade spokeswoman also said the company is evaluating how it can best use its expertise in 5G and smart city networks to support the objectives of the initiative. Selina Lo, CEO of Brocade’s wireless business unit, spoke at the White House launch event to support the group.
Analyst Chetan Sharma of Chetan Sharma Consulting says that other companies will likely join the group. He adds that the NSF will be able to research difficult technical problems and get input from academia as well as various public companies. He also believes that the $400 million fund will help extend 5G research beyond what companies can do with their own R&D departments.
Sharma notes that the U.S. government typically limits its role in wireless to policy decisions but that this time they are looking beyond spectrum auctions and making spectrum available for use.