The EU and Brazil signed an agreement to develop 5G, the next generation of communication networks. The Commission also started work on an action plan to deploy the technology in the EU by 2020. 5G will be the backbone of the EU Digital Single Market, industries of the future, modern public services and innovative applications such as connected cars, smart homes or mobile health services.
By 2020, there will be 26 billion connected devices and 70% of people will own a smartphone. To face this global challenge, the EU joined forces with Brazil to strengthen cooperation in this strategic area and to make sure that 5G does not develop in silos at the international level. The EU and Brazil, which are close trading partners, have been cooperating on information and communication technologies since 2008.
This agreement follows similar key cooperation initiatives with South Korea, Japan and China.
The EU and Brazil have committed to developing a global definition of 5G and to identifying the services (for example connected cars, the Internet of Things or very high-definition video streaming) which should be the first delivered by 5G networks.
The two partners will also work to define common standards in order to have a stronger position on the global stage. They will cooperate in identifying the most promising radio frequencies to meet the additional spectrum requirements for 5G, especially in the framework of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In addition, they will promote the deployment of 5G in fields such as smart cities, agro-food, education, health, transport or energy as well as possibilities for joint research projects in this area.
Cooperation agreements are also being discussed with India and the United States.
Earlier this month, the European Commission presented a proposal to coordinate the use of the 700 MHz band for mobile services. Mobile operators using the 700 MHz band will be able to offer higher-speed and higher-quality broadband (i.e. without service interruption) to consumers and cover wider areas, including rural and remote regions.
It would enable Europe to move ahead and provide mobile broadband speeds beyond 100 Mb/s and catch up with leading regions in 4G mobile broadband take-up (such as South Korea or the USA). As soon as specific 5G standards and associated technology and equipment are available by 2020, mobile operators will be in a good position to roll out 5G services.
Further steps to coordinate spectrum in the EU will be part of the forthcoming review of EU telecoms rules foreseen for autumn 2016.