The European Union will work with South Korea in the development of 5G wireless network technologies, with an aim of creating a single global standard.

The EU and South Korea will aim to launch jointly funded research projects in 2016/17, with Seoul looking to have the core 5G technologies available before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and plans to introduce the world’s first 5G networks by 2020.

Both parties have agreed to focus on a harmonised radio spectrum policy to ensure interoperability between 5G networks, something that is not possible with all 3G and 4G networks around the world.

EU Vice President Neelie Kroes said:

“5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and South Korea recognise this. 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.”

This puts Samsung into the spotlight. It has 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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