The EU added an agreement to work with Brazil on the development of 5G mobile technology to existing bilateral agreements with China, Japan and South Korea, at the World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona this week.
While the industry has made progress in 5G technology, there are legislative and standards gaps that the EU needs to fill. The European Commission has launched a discussion on the availability of frequency bands for 5G and a final decision will be made at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019.
The deal with Brazil and others will support negotiations on frequency bands and global interoperability standards for 5G. “Spectrum coordination is essential to make 5G happen,” said Andrus Ansip, EU vice president, who is responsible for delivery of a digital single market.
The EU and Brazil will also work on identifying which services will be delivered first by 5G networks, with EU Digital Commissioner Gunther Oettinger noting the connected cars sector is quite advanced already. Other applications including the Internet of Things, smart homes, digital healthcare and ultra-high definition video streaming, are developing fast too.
The cooperation agreement is one step further to catching up with South Korea, which has far more advanced telecommunications infrastructures and will launch the world’s first 5G network at the Winter Olympics in 2018.
The EU is now working on agreements with India and the US as part of a broader action plan on 5G, with Oettinger saying, “International agreements are complementary to our efforts to deploy the technology in the EU.”
The EU and Brazil have been cooperating on information and communications technologies since 2008 and this year opened a joint call for research projects on 5G under Horizon 2020.By 2020, the EU will be investing €700 million in the deployment of 5G through a public-private partnership under Horizon 2020. The industry is expected to match the investment by up to five times, to more than €3 billion euros.