EU and South Korea join forces in race to develop 5G mobile

16 Jun 2014

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has signed a landmark deal with South Korea’s Minister for Science Mun-Kee Choi to co-operate on winning the race to define fifth-generation (5G) mobile standards.

They also agreed on the need for harmonised radio spectrum to ensure global interoperability and on the preparation of global standards for 5G.

The move comes just as many countries are mid-way through the rollout of fourth generation mobile services, promising broadband speeds of between 20Mbps and 120Mbps as well as freeing up old 2G spectrum to accommodate 3G.

“5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established,” Kroes said.

“Both Europe and Korea recognise this. This is the first time ever that public authorities have joined together in this way, with the support of private industry, to push forward the process of standardisation. Today’s declaration signals the our commitment to being global digital leaders.”


5G’s 2020 vision

Earlier this year Kroes set 2020 as the goal to roll out 5G technologies across Europe.

Not only will 5G be faster in terms of broadband speeds, it will bring new functionalitie and applications with high social and economic value.

5G will be instrumental in the emergence of the ‘internet of things’ a world where wireless technologies will be consumed by humans and machines.

Both sides signed a Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and 5G, agreeing to deepen discussions in the area of Net Futures (network and communications, 5G, cloud computing), an element of on-going relations on ICT topics.

Both sides will also work towards a coordinated call for research project proposals, to be launched in 2016.

An industry memorandum of understanding will be signed between the EU’s 5G Infrastructure Association (whose members include Alcatel-Lucent, Atos, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Nokia, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor and Telefonica) and South Korea’s 5G Forum.

The impact of 5G (infographic)

5g impact


5G mobile image at top via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years