The development of 5G networks in Europe has received a major boost following the signing of a new collaboration deal between the European Commission and South Korea.
The two sides announced this morning that they had signed a 'Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology and 5G', signifying an agreement to work towards a global definition of 5G and to cooperate in 5G research.
The deal, which will also cover issues such as cloud computing and the future of communications, was signed by 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.
Leading operators in the EU and South Korea will now work together under an 'Infrastructure of Understanding' to move forward with the development of 5G technology, with members of the EU 5G Infrastructure Association, which includes the likes of Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia, and Telefonica, signing an agreement with South Korea's 5G Forum to share knowledge and expertise.
The deal also covers an agreement on the need to agree and prepare global standards for the implementation of 5G, which includes 'harmonised' radio spectrum to ensure global interoperability of the networks.
The two groups also reaffirmed their commitment towards R&D collaboration in ICT, strengthening an agreement made last November at a separate summit.
As part of this, a Korea-EU ICT group will be set up to work to cooperate on R&D, as well as policy discussions concerning areas such as 5G, Cloud and the Internet of Things, before launching jointly funded 'coordinated call' R&D programs in 2016-2017.
"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.
"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."
South Korea has long been a world leader in the development and implementation of high-speed networks, making it an ideal partner for the EU. Earlier this year, the country's science ministry announced that the country would be investing $1.5bn into rolling out a domestic 5G network as a "pre-emptive action" to have the technology ready by 2020.
The nation's SK Telecom also recently revealed plans to launch a new 300Mbps wireless broadband service, which is four times faster than to its existing standard 75mbps LTE mobile broadband.