With a recent press release announcing that the European Union is ready to join forces with Japan in the name of research, it seems that it’s taking additional steps to position itself as a major player in the race to implement 5G technology. Signing agreements like this will help give European companies a leg up in this high-tech race, making it more practical to develop 5G technologies. There’s a wealth of potential benefits to this technology, including unbelievably high data transfer speeds. A 5G network may be able to run connections at 800Gbps, which is the equivalent of downloading 33 full-length films each second. High speeds like this would enable giant leaps in other forms of technology, including the medical, automotive, and computer industries.

EU

A New 5G Agreement

To reap these benefits, the EU has just signed an agreement with Japan to combine research efforts in the interest of advancing 5G technology. This agreement allows the two regions to identify new radio band frequencies and cooperate together on funding efforts, while working together on new policies and research projects. An agreement to stimulate scientific exchanges has also been signed by both the European Research Council and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The EU and Japan already work together in other research areas, notably aeronautics, but this will specifically focus on 5G networking.

Additional Partnerships

Last year, the EU formed a joint research partnership with South Korea, also to focus on researching and developing 5G technology. At that time, South Korea was at the head of the pack when it comes to mobile technology, as the home of Samsung and a super-fast broadband network. In this earlier agreement, the two entities agreed to unify their radio frequencies in the interest of making it easier for manufacturers to create 5G-enabled devices. A global standard like this will also make it easier for travellers to move between regions with a seamless 5G connection on each end. At this time, the EU pledged to spend 700 million Euros on 5G research over the next seven years.

The Next Steps

Although Europe was a major leader when it came to unveiling the first forms of GSM mobile technology in the 1990s, it’s since fallen behind Asia and the United States with the rollout of 4G networks. Network operators like Vodafone and Telefonica were slower to advance to 4G than network operators from other regions. With partnerships like these, the EU hopes to stay competitive when it comes to rolling out a new 5G standard, and offer these benefits to its citizens. Operators like Nokia Networks are conducting their own research and working with Japanese companies to offer these benefits as well.

The European Commission plans to sign more agreements with key regions throughout the world to help stay on top of the latest advances in technology, ensuring that Europe doesn’t get left behind. Next on the agenda are formal discussions with China, home to Huawei and ZTE. With positive moves like these, it seems the EU is on track to see the first 5G technology by 2020.