South Korea and EU to hammer out 5G standards together

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South Korea and the European Union will work together to develop 5G wireless network technologies and to reach global consensus on standards.

The two sides agreed on the need for a harmonized radio spectrum policy for ensuring global interoperability of 5G networks, as well as global technical standards, the European Commission and the South Korean government said Monday.

The EU and South Korea will collaborate with the Third Generation Partnership Project, a group of telecommunications standards organizations, and with the International Telecommunication Union, which sets global policies for spectrum use.

By forming a joint research and development group, the EU and South Korea plan to cooperate on developing ICT services for the cloud and the Internet of Things, among other areas.

“We would need to make a globally agreed definition and standards of 5G networks in the future, but for now we define it as a high speed mobile network that’s nearly 1,000 times faster than 4G, and it can be connected to a greater variety of devices as well as being more energy efficient,” Oh Sang-jin, director of the ICT policy division at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, told IDG News Service.

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, was in Seoul on Monday to sign the agreement.

In a message on Twitter, Kroes characterized the agreement as an effort to “speed up and win (the) global race to create 5G.”

Earlier this year, she set 2020 as the goal to roll out 5G networks across Europe.

Under the new agreement, the EU and South Korea aim to launch jointly funded research projects in 2016 or 2017.

South Korea is currently working with various companies in order to roll out core 5G wireless technologies by 2018 for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and introduce the world’s first 5G network services by 2020, the ministry said in a statement.

Samsung Electronics has said it successfully tested technologies it considers key to 5G last year. South Korea’s major carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus are racing to become the first 5G network provider.

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