The EU has announced that it will work with Japan to help define standards for 5G and how it will enable growth of the Internet of Things.
As well as identifying which spectrum bands will be used for 5G, Japan and the EU will collaborate on development of smart health and connected car tech.
The main idea being this agreement is that products designed and manufactured in Japan will work in the EU and vice versa. As well as making it cheaper for big firms to manufacture products, folks travelling across the world will also be able to use their phones and tablets in a greater number of locations.
Related: Will 4K video and the Internet of Things drive us to speeds of 165Mbps by 2020?European Commissioner for digital economy and society Günther H. Oettinger said: “5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide. This is why we strongly support and seek a global consensus and cooperation on 5G.
“Our agreement with Japan is a milestone on the road to a global definition of 5G, its service characteristics and standards. It shows that our countries are ready to take leadership in building our digital future.”
The joint agreement mirrors the EU’s existing understanding with South Korea, which was signed last year.
The EU’s vision for what 5G will be able to do is ambitious. As well as providing significantly faster download speeds, providing for effortless transmission of 4K video streams, it’s hoped that 5G technology will allow for improved traffic management in cities, universal mobile coverage on trains and rural areas and intelligent power grids.
In the UK, we’ve seen companies including Samsung, Huawei and ZTE get involved with the 5G Innovation Centre research and development facility in the University of Surrey, in Guildford.
Trials in lab conditions and in the wild have yielded some eyebrow-raising results, with Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of 5GIC chairing one session that demonstrated speeds of 1Tbps between devices 100 metres apart.
For reference, 1Tbps, one terabit per second, is equivalent to 1,000,000Mbps.
According to the most recent Ofcom figures, the average download speed enjoyed by most folks in the UK is 22.8Mbps.
Elsewhere, Tafazolli has predicted that in real life, the speeds accessed on future 5G devices might be somewhat slower than that. Until standards are defined and radio frequencies are allocated, we won’t be able to realistically gauge how fast living in the 5G lane will be.