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EU and China sign agreement to co-operate over 5G network developments

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The EU and China have signed an agreement to co-operate over the development of 5G network technologies and standards.

The agreement, signed during the EU-China High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue in Beijing, could give European companies access to and participation in China’s publicly funded 5G research, development and innovation initiatives on the same terms as Chinese companies.

The agreement was put in place before the anticipated ‘5G standardisation race’ in 2016 when various bodies across the world will begin talks on spectrum requirements for 5G, which are expected to be ratified in the World Radio Conference 2019. 5G is expected to be commercially available from 2020.

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, and Miao Wei, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology signed a joint declaration of intent to co-operate on a range of issues.

The two bodies have agreed to reach a global understanding, by the end of 2015, on the concept, basic functions, key technologies and time plan for 5G. Joint research projects, bilateral enterprises and a united stand on global standardisation for 5G have also been pledged. Both have committed to standardisation work, in organisations such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Together they will seek to identify the most promising radio frequency bands to meet the new spectrum requirements for 5G. The potential for co-operative research on services and applications for 5G, with a special emphasis on the Internet of Things (IoT), will also be explored, according to the agreement.

According to an EU statement, both parties have committed to reciprocity and openness over access to 5G networks research funding, market access and membership of Chinese and EU 5G associations. This joint declaration builds on similar agreements with South Korea and Japan signed with the Commission in recent months.

The European Commission is investing €700 million through the Horizon 2020 Programme to support research and innovation in 5G. In May the EC announced its Digital Single Market Strategy to improve spectrum coordination in the EU, with emphasis on future 5G needs.

“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,” said Commissioner Günther Oettinger.

Discover the latest developments on the road to 5G at 5G World in London 28-30 June 2016

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