MWC 2017: BT Mentors Telco Startups With Facebook And Works With Nokia On 5G VR

BT joins Facebook-led Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and will open telco startup accelerator in the UK

BT will open a telecoms startup accelerator in the UK as part of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), providing support to “disruptive” technologies. 

EE, which BT bought for £12.5 billion last year, was already a member of the Facebook-led initiative which also counts on the support of the likes of Intel, Nokia and Deutsche Telekom.  

The TIP already has an accelerator in South Korea in partnership with SK Telecom and the BT-led venture is the first in Europe. Here, BT and the TIP will identify and mentor potential startups with an initial focus on quantum computing in relation to networks and mission critical applications. 


BT at MWC 

EE is to build the £1 billion 4G-powered Emergency Services Network (ESN) and BT has just announced a 5G partnership with Ericsson and Kings College London (KCL) in that area. Further focuses will be selected next year. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity to combine BT’s brightest minds with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and Facebook’s global presence,” declared Howard Watson, CEO of Technology, Service and Operations (TSO) at BT. 

“The TIP initiative is open innovation at its finest: pushing the boundaries; transforming the traditional use of technologies; and galvanising a global network of like-minded innovators to look beyond the current mix of technologies to the longer-term future.” 

BT also used Mobile World Congress (MWC) to detail a venture with Nokia to see how 5G can support virtual reality applications like live sport. Nokia is demoing a broadcast of the Tottenham v CSKA Moscow UEFA Champions League football match at its booth, filmed on the Nokia Ozo VR camera and transmitted via the Finnish firm’s 5G tech. 


“5G and VR are both technologies with enormous potential,” added Watson. “This exciting joint research with Nokia is allowing us to explore how they can work together to provide a transformative experience for our customers in the future.  

“Drawing on the high bandwidths and low latencies of 5G will allow us to go beyond the already compelling VR experiences that are possible over 4G, and cater for more interactive future VR content which will place people right at the heart of the action.”  

BT and Nokia have a pre-existing research deal and the British telco giant is hedging its bets. It is also working with Huawei on 5G, including network slicing. 

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