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EU and Japan announce cooperation on 5G mobile technology

On the occasion of the EU-Japan summit, taking place today in Tokyo, both parties have announced a milestone agreement in the global race to develop 5G mobile technology. The EU and Japan have agreed to join forces to cope with the increasing need for wireless Internet. 5G represents the way we will connect in the future, it won't just be faster, it will bring totally new functionalities and applications for the benefits of our economies and societies.

infographic showing what 5G is about and a timeline

European Commission

infographic showing what 5G is about and a timeline

The joint declaration was signed by Sanae Takaichi, Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, and by Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

is the second cooperation agreement on 5G that the EU signs with a third country, a year after a joint declaration with South Korea. The Commission is working towards closer cooperation with other countries, including China. Such international agreements strengthen the position of the EU on the global stage and complement current efforts to create a Digital Single Market in Europe. By breaking down barriers and creating the right environment for innovative industries to develop, the EU will become an even more attractive and dynamic continent.

What is in the agreement?

The EU and Japan will strengthen cooperation on:

  • A global definition of 5G. Both parties will strive to reach a common understanding on the broad definition, the key functionalities and a target time table for 5G, with the aim of conducting a first review of joint progress by the end of 2015. The EU unveiled its 5G blueprint in March 2015.
  • Global standards for 5G. The EU and Japan will work together to develop common standards.
  • Identifying which radio frequency bands can be harmonised globally to meet additional spectrum requirements for 5G. They will work closely on this in the framework of the International Telecommunication Union and the World Radio Conference. 
  • Future 5G applications and ecosystems in areas like connected cars, e-health or high-quality video content distribution.

The EU and Japan will also invest €12 million during the next two years in 5G-related projects. These projects will help develop the Internet of Things,Cloud or Big Data platforms. 5G equipment and networks are likely to become available to the public in 2020. Japan aims to deploy 5G networks in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.


Infographic: 5G Vision


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In December 2013, the European Commission launched a Public-Private Partnership on 5G (IP/13/1261 - Factsheet). The EU is investing €700 million by 2020 in this partnership through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. EU industry is set to match this investment by up to 5 times, to more than €3 billion euros.

The Japan's Fifth Generation Mobile Communications Promotion Forum (5GMF) is a similar industrial partnership which coordinates 5G research and standardisation at the Japanese national level. The two bodies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 25 March 2015 in Germany. The commitment of industry is crucial for the success of 5G international cooperation.

At the 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC), the European Commission and Europe's tech industry presented the EU's vision of 5G technologies and infrastructure. This ambitious strategy gives the EU a strong voice in the next phase of 5G discussions at the global level that should lead to international agreements, including on standards. (see also the speech of Commissioner Oettinger at the event: SPEECH/15/4535)

Through its Digital Single Market Strategy (see IP/15/4919 and MEMO/15/4920) the Commission is committed to improving spectrum coordination in the EU, particularly in view of future 5G needs. The Commission will launch a review of the EU's telecoms framework in the coming months, and present legislative proposals for an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016. This includes more effective spectrum coordination, and common EU-wide criteria for spectrum assignment at national level.

More information

Press release: EU and Japan step up cooperation on 5G mobile technology and strengthen research and innovation collaboration

About 5G

Webpage on the Digital Single Market (#DigitalSingleMarket)

Webpage of Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip (@Ansip_EU)

Webpage of Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger (@GOettingerEU)

"<em>5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide. Our agreement with Japan is a milestone on the road to a global definition of 5G, its service characteristics and standards</em>. <em>It shows we&nbsp;are ready to take leadership in building our digital future.</em>" Günther H. Oettinger</p>