In November 2021, Council Regulation 2021/2085 established the SNS JU as a legal and funding entity as part of the 10 European Partnerships to step up the green and digital transition. The SNS JU enables the pooling of EU and industrial resources in Smart Networks and Services. It also fosters alignment with Member States for 6G Research and Innovation, and deployment of advanced 5G networks. The SNS JU sets out an ambitious mission and an EU budget of € 900 million for the period 2021-2027.
The SNS JU has two main missions:
- 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 encourages preparation for early market adoption of 6G technologies by the end of the decade. Mobilising a broad set of stakeholders is 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.
- 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 coordinates strategic guidance for the relevant programmes under the Connecting Europe Facility, in particular 5G Corridors. It also contributes 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.
The Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking also supports technological sovereignty for Europe, in line with the 5G Cybersecurity Toolbox, the Cybersecurity Strategy and the industrial strategy.
The partnership enables 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 6G industry association (6GIA), 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 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 foresees public and private 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 in the governance structure. They can also become contributing partners by providing substantial in-kind contributions.
The 6G Smart Networks and Services Industry Association – 6GIA, which has extended its statutes to enable the participation and mobilization of a broader range of European stakeholders in SNS 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 the private members. The SNS JU provides financial support in the form of R&I grants to participants following open and competitive calls.