Former mobile phone giant Nokia has been loaned €500 million by the European Investment Bank to fund 5G research.

Europe has fallen behind Asia and North America in the race to develop the first working 5G networks.

The loan is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, part of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe.

The Finnish networking and comms giant will now be able to accelerate its R&D around the next-generation mobile network standard.

“We are pleased to land this financing commitment from the EIB, which shares our view of the revolutionary nature of 5G – and the realisation that this revolution is already underway,” said Nokia CFO Kristian Pullola.

“This financing bolsters our 5G research efforts and continues the broader momentum we have already seen this year in terms of customer wins and development firsts, supporting our relentless drive to be a true leader in 5G.”

EC vice-president Jyrki Katainen said: “Ensuring that Europe embraces and benefits from new technologies requires sustained investment. That is where the Investment Plan for Europe can play a crucial role.

“I am delighted that, with today’s agreement, the plan is contributing to Nokia’s research and development activities across multiple European countries to advance the development of 5G technology.”