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The Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking

The European Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) will pool resources to ensure industrial leadership for Europe in 5G and 6G.

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The Commission formally proposed the SNS JU as a legal and funding entity, to be created in 2021. The SNS JU will enable the pooling of EU and industrial resources in Smart Networks and Services. It will also foster alignment with Member States for 6G Research and Innovation, and deployment of advanced 5G networks. The SNS JU sets out an ambitious mission and a budget of € 900 million for the period 2021-2027.

The SNS JU has two main activities:

  1. Fostering Europe’s technology sovereignty in 6G by implementing the related research and innovation (R&I) programme leading to the conception and standardisation around 2025. It will also encourage preparation for early market adoption of 6G technologies by the end of the decade. Mobilising a broad set of stakeholders will be key to address strategic areas of the networks and services value chain. This ranges from edge- and cloud-based service provisioning to market opportunities in new components and devices beyond smartphones. 
  2. Boosting 5G deployment in Europe in view of developing digital lead markets and enabling the digital and green transition of the economy and society. For this objective, the SNS JU will coordinate strategic guidance for the relevant programmes under the Connecting Europe Facility, in particular 5G Corridors. It will also contribute to the coordination of national programmes, including under the Recovery and Resilience Facility and other European programmes and facilities such as Digital Europe Programme (DEP) and InvestEU.

Strategic roadmaps

The partnership will enable a solid research and innovation (R&I) roadmap as well as a deployment agenda set out and followed by a critical mass of European actors

The SRIA: The strategic research and innovation agenda (SRIA) “Smart Networks in the context of NGI” provides a summary of the key research areas for the future of communications technology. It is produced by the NetWorld2020 European Technology Platform (ETP), representing more than 1000 entities. The SRIA includes contributions from the 5G Infrastructure Association (5G-IA), the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIoTI) and the Networked European Software and Services Initiative (NESSI).

The SDA: The 5G strategic deployment agendas (SDA) concern Connected and Automated Mobility and for Rail in Europe and were produced by a wide group of industry stakeholders. They set out the vision, deployment scenarios, cooperation models and regulatory incentives to stimulate investments into the deployment of 5G Corridors along major transport paths in Europe. This is the first strategic step towards the large-scale deployment of 5G infrastructure for road safety. It also paves the way towards the use of 5G in digital operations of rail, and other high value commercial services for road users and train passengers.


The SNS Joint Undertaking proposal foresees public and private members:

Public members

The European Union (represented by the Commission).

Member States are not Members as no additional financial contributions are planned from Member States. However, they are closely associated on the governance structure. They also can become contributing partners by providing substantial in-kind contributions.

Private members

The 5G Infrastructure Association – 5GIA, which has extended its statutes to enable the participation and mobilization of a broader range of European stakeholders in SNS activities. The 5GIA is currently considering updating its name to better reflect its extended scope and operations in the context of the SNS Partnership.


The proposed governance structure of the SNS Joint Undertaking is composed of a Governing Board, states representatives group, Executive Director and the stakeholder group.

The Governing Board (GB)

The Governing Board is composed of representatives of the public and private members. It is responsible for the Joint Undertaking’s decision-making, including the preparation of the work programmes and funding decisions related to the research and innovation activities under Horizon Europe.

The GB also provides strategic guidance and contributes to the work programmes of other EU programmes that are implementing activities in the area of smart networks and services, such as CEF 2 Digital, DEP and InvestEU. It adopts the SDAs for pan-European 5G corridors for connected and automated mobility.

The states representatives group

The states representatives group provides guidance on all strategic issues as well as all relevant activities of the partnership. In particular, it provides guidance for R&I under Horizon Europe and for deployment activities under CEF2 Digital or other EU programmes. It is composed of representatives of each Member State and Associated Country.

The Executive Director

The Executive Director is the chief executive responsible for the Joint Undertaking’s day-to-day management.

The stakeholder group

The stakeholder group is open to all public and private stakeholders active in the field of the smart networks and services. It will provide inputs and feedback on the JU’s planned activities.


The SNS JU is jointly funded by Industry and the EU. The budget of the SNS JU is at least €1.8 billion for the period 2021-27. An EU contribution of €900 million will be at least matched by participating industry. The SNS JU provides financial support in the form of R&I grants to participants following open and competitive calls.


Europe puts forward proposal for Joint Undertaking on Smart Networks and Services towards 6G

The European Commission has adopted its legislative proposal for a strategic European partnership on Smart Networks and Services as a Joint Undertaking, with a public R&I investment of €900 million over the new long-term budget period 2021-2027. The Joint Undertaking will coordinate research activities on 6G technology under Horizon Europe as well as 5G deployment initiatives under the Connecting Europe Facility Digital and other programmes.

EU to set up new European Partnerships and invest nearly €10 billion for the green and digital transition

The Commission has proposed to set up 10 new European Partnerships between the European Union, Member States and/or the industry. The goal is to speed up the transition towards a green, climate neutral and digital Europe, and to make European industry more resilient and competitive. The EU will provide nearly €10 billion of funding that the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment.

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See Also

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5G Observatory

The European 5G Observatory enables the EU to assess the progress of the 5G Action Plan and take action to fully implement it.

5G Action plan

The 5G Action Plan is a strategic initiative that will make 5G a reality for all citizens and businesses across the EU.