Franco-German innovation projects for private 5G networks

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), together with the French Ministère de l'Economie et des Finances et de la Relance (MEFR), plans to fund bilateral innovation projects on the topic of "Technical developments and application ecosystems for private 5G networks".

Communication networks (5G and in future 6G) are an important basis for further digitalisation in the economy. Smart factories, mobile robotics or connected vehicles generate large amounts of data that can be transmitted and processed securely and robustly in real time on the basis of 5G. Ever since 2020, different frequency ranges for private local 5G networks ("campus networks") can also be applied for from the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). For the flexible design of campus networks, further innovations are needed in the area of virtualisation of 5G subsystems and components as well as their interoperability via open interfaces.

Germany wants to take a leading role as a technology provider in the communication technologies 5G and, in the future, 6G. This call for funding is being initiated by the German side as part of the Economic Stimulus Package, Article 45. Through these funding initiatives, the German government is improving the market entry for innovative network technology and promoting the rapid development and implementation of open standards in Germany and on a European level.

France and Germany have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the field of 5G communication technologies. The aim of this call is to create Franco-German ecosystems whose developments and collaborations will help lower market entry barriers in Europe and open up the 5G communications market to new providers of industry-specific solutions for private 5G networks from France and Germany.

The call is complementary to the already launched German call for 5G campus networks (Digitale Technologien - Campusnetzwerke) and comparable funding activities in France. The Franco-German innovation projects should use synergies with the national funding activities in both countries and contribute to a cross-border transfer of development results and flexibly deployable 5G components.

This funding is targeted at:

  • A "Main project" to build an ecosystem for private 5G networks based on open or virtualised components
  • Up to six "demonstration projects" to test the technologies in concrete application areas and to test them in practice. We are looking for application scenarios from the areas of: Industry 4.0, logistics, healthcare and other economically or socially relevant application areas.

A close exchange between the core project and demonstration projects is paramount.

Possible funding is based on the funding framework „Development of Digital Technologies“, whose framework regulations apply. Funding is subject to the availability of corresponding budget funds.

The application procedure is single-stage (direct full application). Interested parties who submit an expression of interest (see below) by 15.06.2021 will be invited to an information and matchmaking event.

Project start: January 2022