The European Commission and the South Korean government have jointly announced an agreement designed to facilitate the definition and development of 5G wireless technologies. A key immediate aim is to establish a global consensus on the definition of 5G, something that the industry has only very recently begun to discuss in public.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, and Mun-Kee Choi. South Korea’s Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning, signed a joint declaration on strategic cooperation on Monday. Such things seem to be viewed as a vital prerequisite to actually doing things in the brave new world of supranational bureaucracy.
Kroes had previously gone on the record to stress just how much of a hurry she was in: “Let’s find a global consensus on the scope of 5G, its main technological constituents, and the timetable for putting it in place,” she said last February. “Let’s work this out together. And let’s work it out soon: by the end of 2015. So all our citizens can get the 5G boost as early as possible.” There being no time to waste, the EC plans to launch a call for research project proposals and to work on an ‘industry memorandum of understanding’ in 2016.
Europe having lagged the US and parts of Asia in LTE deployment has long been a favoured lament of Neelie Kroes and she is clearly keen that history does not repeat itself with the next generation of mobile technology.
At Mobile World Congress this year we saw discussions of 5G being given prominent stage time, with the central message being that it could (and will) be formed from any number of constituent parts and that nobody wants to go out on a limb at this point and make hard and fast predictions. As can be seen from our feature on 5G, the discussions are really just beginning.Other than that there was much reaffirming of previous agreements, as there will presumably be of this one in a year or so. South Korea is currently the global pioneer of new wireless technologies, with SK Telecom having recently set a new record for mobile download speeds. It can only be good news for European businesses and consumers that it has chosen to ally itself to such an industrious country on this matter.“5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and Korea recognise this,” said Kroes today. “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 our commitment to being global digital leaders.”