Out-Law News 1 min. read

EU and South Korea to collaborate on development of 5G standard

The European Commission and South Korea will collaborate on the development of a new '5G' standard for wireless internet connections, it has been announced.

Representatives of the Commission and South Korea signed a joint declaration in Seoul to cooperate in developing new communication networks, define what '5G' is and work towards a global standard for it. Third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) mobile data networks are already in commercial operation.

In addition, the trading partners have agreed to harmonise radio spectrum policy so as to support 5G connections across the same frequency bands when the new technology becomes available.

The two sides intend to explore opportunities to conduct joint research projects into 5G in time for their launch in 2016. The agreement will also see some of the EU's major technology companies sign an "industry memorandum" with South Korea's 5G Forum, it said.

"5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established," European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes  said. "Both Europe and South 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."

In March, the UK government announced that researchers based at two universities in England, King’s College University in London and the University of Surrey, would cooperate with researchers at the University of Dresden in Germany on 5G research. At the time, UK prime minister David Cameron said that 5G technology has the potential to cut internet download times to a fraction of what they are currently.

The UK government's spectrum strategy published earlier this year also contains a commitment to free up some existing radio frequency bands for testing of 5G.

In addition to faster connection speeds, 5G technology also promises to bring with it "new functionalities and applications with high social and economic value", the Commission said. It said it could help support the growing demand for data in the 'internet of things' era.

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