5G by 2020? Europe and China team up for research, focus on Internet of Things

Europe has signed a deal with China that aims to give European telcos and IT firms better access to China's publicly funded 5G research.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The European Union and China have signed an agreement on 5G to steer cooperation on joint research, standardisation, spectrum, and the Internet of Things.

Europe and China have signed an agreement to allow EU telecoms and ICT companies more open access to the Chinese market as well as equal access to China's government-funded 5G research. This will give European companies the same level of access that Chinese companies already enjoy when participating in the EU's 5G initiatives.

The declaration was signed by the EC's head of digital economy, Günther Oettinger, and Miao Wei, Chinese minister of industry and information technology, on Monday at a trade meeting in Beijing.

Under the declaration, Europe and China aim to reach consensus on the concept, basic functionalities, key technologies, and schedule for 5G by the end of 2015, or roughly five years ahead of the expected launch of commercial 5G networks.

The agreement covers joint research in 5G and efforts to encourage enterprise participation in such projects from both parties' jurisdictions, as well as to jointly promote global standardisation for 5G alongside ongoing standardisation work in groups such as 3GPP and the ITU.

The agreement aims to ensure EU and China maintain an equivalent level of industrial transparency when organisations interact with R&D associations such as Europe's 5G PPP and China's IMT-2020, whose members include China's main operators, vendors, universities, and research institutes.

The two industrial associations plan on signing an agreement reflecting the values of the EU-China 5G pact once today's agreement is in place.

China and the EU plan to support spectrum requirements for 5G by cooperating on the identification of globally harmonised radio frequency. The pair will also explore use cases for 5G, with a focus on the Internet of Things.

The two parties have agreed to report on a yearly basis about the participation of organisations in the EU and China with a commitment to jointly solving potential problems.

"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 Oettinger in a statement.

The deal with China follows similar agreements Europe has struck with South Korea and Japan.

The EU has previously committed to investing €700 million by 2020 on 5G through the Horizon 2020 research program.

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