European policymakers looking to sign agreements with China, Japan and the U.S. on 5G Development

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European policymakers are looking to sign agreements with China, Japan and the United States to cooperate on developing the next generation of mobile broadband, 5G, which promises much faster video downloads, denser network coverage and the possibility of connecting billions of everyday electronic objects to create “the internet of things”.

“With 5G, Europe has a great opportunity to reinvent its telecom industrial landscape,” Guenther Oettinger, the EU’s Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

In June last year the European Commission signed an agreement with South Korea in which the two sides committed to cooperating on setting technical standards and ensure the necessary radio frequencies are able to support the new network.

“It is our intention to sign similar agreements with other key regions of the world, notably Japan, China, and the United States,” Oettinger said.

The Commission will soon start formal discussions on 5G with China, according to a person familiar with the matter, which is also keen to have its say on what 5G should do. China is home to the world’s second-biggest maker of mobile network equipment, Huawei [HWT.UL], and ZTE, the fifth biggest.

Much work remains to be done to set technical standards for the technology, and figure out exactly what it is supposed to do that current 4G gear cannot, experts say.

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