Wireless researcher Ted Rappaport would like to believe his NYU Wireless center operates as a sort of de facto US 5G consortium. The group, which has backing from AT&T, L3, Intel, National Instruments, Nokia (now part of Microsoft), Qualcomm, and others, does extensive research in millimeter wave technology and last year hosted a symposium on 5G cellular.
"A national convener is needed to ensure that the US remains competitive as wireless enters its renaissance, so that spectrum, technologies, and a reservoir of technical experts are available to usher in the future of ultrawideband wireless communications," Rappaport said in an email. "At NYU Wireless, we are working to fill that role."
US companies also participate in other 5G efforts at home and overseas. For instance, NI and Qualcomm are listed as members of Korea's 5G Forum.
Nevertheless, Werner Mohr, chairman of Europe's 5GPPP consortium, says he is only aware of a few US companies working on 5G. North America would benefit from an organized industrial effort, in his opinion.
"It would be good to have someone with whom we can talk representing the activities in the US," says Mohr. "In the US [5G research is] mainly in the academic domain... I only know of a [5G] program in Intel and maybe in Qualcomm, but it is not yet so visible for us, so a counterpart [organization] would be great."
Intel is engaged with Europe's 5GPPP, and Qualcomm has "had discussion [with 5GPPP] but not made internal decisions" about being part of the effort. In addition, "IBM will be involved [with 5GPPP], but that's mainly IBM Israel," says Mohr.
As for US carriers, "we had some discussions with AT&T, but operators cannot get public funding" for work in 5GPPP projects, Mohr says. AT&T, for example, can participate in projects, but it has to fund the work itself.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times