EU and Chinese government sign deal that will see joint research and standardisation efforts
The European Union (EU) will work with China to develop and standardise 5G technology with a view to the first commercial networks launching in 2020.
The two parties have entered into an agreement that provides scope for joint-research into 5G networks and applications, including Internet of Things (IoT) services, and will see the EU and China coordinate efforts to find appropriate spectrum and standardise the various candidate technologies.
The EU says it believes standardisation will occur in 2016, with spectrum allocation taking place as early as the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019 (WRC-19).
EU China 5G
The agreement was signed by Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, and Miao Wei, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology during the EU-China High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue in Beijing.
Oettinger says the deal builds on similar arrangements with South Korea and Japan and will provide a boost to European technology firms as China is expected to be the world’s largest 5G market. Crucially, the partnership will also allow EU firms to participate in Chinese research efforts.
“5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide,” he said. “This is why we strongly support and seek a global consensus and cooperation on 5G. With today’s signature with China, the EU has now teamed up with the most important Asian partners in a global race to make 5G a reality by 2020. It’s a crucial step in making 5G a success.”
The EU is already investing €700 million in 5G research projects, but a number of similar efforts are taking place in the world, including at the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey.
The final standards of 5G are still up for debate, but there is a general consensus that next generation networks will offer faster speeds, low latency, more efficient energy use and higher capacity – characteristics that can help support the expected growth in IoT applications.
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