Europe's digital chief wants China's help on standardising 5G

Oetti: Will need rest of world's cooperation too, though

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MWC 2015 Europe’s digi Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger wants China’s help in deploying 5G.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Oettinger laid out his “grand vision” for 5G, saying that his “ambitious strategy” will give the EU a strong voice in international deals to set 5G standards.

“The EU industry has a major role to play in the context of global 5G. It has a strong influence on the competitiveness and innovation of other sectors. Beyond economic matters, it is also about security and technological sovereignty for Europe,” said Oetti.

However, despite this he was keen to push the idea of international collaboration. Last June the Commission signed a deal with South Korea to work together towards a global definition of 5G and to cooperate in 5G research.

“It is our intention to sign similar agreements with other key regions of the world, notably Japan, China, and the US,” said Oettinger on Tuesday. Chinese representatives were quick to jump on the high-speed bandwagon.

“5G will represent a new wave of innovation. We need to ensure that technological revolution and business model evolution go hand-in-hand,” Dr. Li Yingtao from Huawei stressed that the company is committed to research tando innovation within the EU. “We are joining forces with our European partners to help the EU take the lead on the road towards 5G,” he said.

Luigi Gambardella, President of ChinaEU, a bilateral trade lobby group, added: “A cooperation between Europe and China on 5G will open the door to both the Chinese and the European industry to the biggest and richest markets in the world respectively and create the conditions to invest more in European and Chinese digital economies."

ChinaEU wants nothing less than to put together “the political institutions and the main manufacturers of both regions to achieve this common objective”.

With companies including Huawei and ZTE, China is the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile equipment and network infrastructure, something Oettinger knows he cannot ignore.

But he must get the European house in order first. As part of his “grand vision”, he wants early identification of 5G spectrum bands and with the next International Telecommunication Union World Radio Conference looming, time is running out.

5G standardisation is expected to start in 2016 and a major China-EU summit is due to be held in Brussels in June.

“There can be no successful 5G deployment in Europe without enhanced coordination of spectrum assignments between member states,” said Oettinger before warning squabbling national ministers that they must get their act together and agree on the proposed Telecoms law.

“It contains important measures to facilitate small cell deployment and Wi-Fi which are at the heart of 5G success. Removing administrative barriers for their rapid deployment is the forward-looking policy of today to enable 5G tomorrow,” said the Commissioner. ®


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