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August 21, 2015

Intel joins 5G ‘land grab’

Boosts 5G efforts with partner fast track.

By Alexander Sword

Intel is attempting to establish itself as a leader in 5G developments through investments and collaborations with major partners.

At a session at the Intel Developer Forum, the chip-maker announced the Intel Network Builders Fast Track, which will work with the networking industry to increase 5G innovation.

The programme will deploy a combination of market development activities and investments by Intel Capital into disruptive companies, in order to drive integration and interoperability.

Intel aims to provide components to help service providers to quickly assemble systems to offer new services through network functions virtualisation and software defined networking.

"Intel Network Builders Fast Track builds on the progress we’ve already made with Intel Network Builders," wrote Lynn Comp of Intel’s Network Products group. "It’s a natural evolution for us to take with industry partners and leading service providers to move NFV closer to fulfilling its promise."

"Through Intel market development activities and investments we will accelerate interoperability, quicken adoption of standards-based technologies using Intel architecture, and drive the availability of integrated, ready-to-deploy solutions."

Intel is also working with networking and telecoms companies including Nokia, Ericsson and SK Telecom to standardise the new technology.

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"There is a real landgrab for 5G," said Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight. "A lot of Chinese and Korean manufacturers are working in this area."

Wood argues that 5G provides an opportunity for Intel to transition its business away from the PC market and towards technologies of the future.

"For Intel it’s extremely important," he said. "They missed the mobile opportunity for 3G and 4G.

"5G is very much in tune with their vision of the Internet of Things.

"If you get an early jump on where the standards are going you have a better opportunity to capitalise.

"As the PC market slows down Intel knows it needs to invest in other areas.

Wood added that it was unclear how successful they would be but that there is "such an enormous commitment from the Intel CEO that they will use all available resources to become a key player."

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