Beijing: The European Union (EU) on Monday announced that it has signed a key fifth generation (5G) telecommunication system agreement with China, a move aimed to seek an edge in the global digital competitiveness. “Both parties are committed to reciprocity and openness in terms of access to 5G networks research funding, market access as well as in membership of Chinese and EU 5G associations,” an official statement said.
Signed during Monday’s EU-China high level economic and trade dialogue in Beijing, the agreement was described by the EU as a “milestone” in the global race to develop 5G networks. “It’s a crucial step in making 5G a success,” said Gunther Oettinger, EU commissioner for the digital economy and society.
“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.” 5G is expected to be commercially available from 2020.
Under the agreement, the EU and China will seek to reach a global understanding by the end of 2015 on the concept, basic functionalities, key technologies and time plan for 5G.
They also decided to cooperate on joint research actions and to promote bilateral participation of enterprises in 5G research projects. Meanwhile, they will work to facilitate the identification of the most promising radio frequency bands to meet the new spectrum requirements for 5G.
Besides, the possibilities will be jointly explored on services and applications for 5G, especially in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) which connects traditional devices, including home appliances to the internet.
The EU stressed that the agreement is “very timely” as the 5G standardisation race will start in 2016 together with discussions on spectrum requirements for 5G that should culminate during the World Radio Conference in 2019.
The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, is investing 700 million euros ($782 million) through the Horizon 2020 Programme to support 5G research and innovation.