With the new 5G agreement, the EU will join forces with Japan to cope with the increasing need for wireless Internet and complement current efforts to create a Digital Single Market in Europe.
Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society 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 agreement will allow EU and Japan to work towards a common understanding and standards of 5G, identify new harmonised radio band frequencies for 5G spectrum and cooperate on future 5G applications in areas like connected cars or e-health. Together, the partners will also invest €12 million during the next two years in 5G-related projects to help develop the Internet of Things,Cloud or Big Data platforms.
In parallel, the EU and Japan have also agreed to deepen their cooperation on Research and Innovation (R&I), based on a joint vision endorsed today.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Europe and Japan must tackle many of the same challenges such as energy security, ageing populations or access to critical materials. So it’s only natural that we also work together closely to find solutions to these challenges. The joint vision endorsed today will take our cooperation to the next level.”
The agreement will build on the strong research ties in areas like ICT and aeronautics and strengthen collaborations in health and medical research, environment, energy and physics. The partners will also set up a joint funding mechanism that will make it easier to finance common R&I projects and collaborate more closely on policy aspects, like Open Science. In addition, an agreement to stimulate scientific exchanges has also been signed between the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the European Research Council (ERC).
The foundation for the EU and Japan cooperation on 5G mobile technology has been laid down in the Memorandum of Understandingon 25 March 2015. The commitment was signed between the 5G Public-Private Partnership, which was launched by the Commission in December 2013, and Japan’s Fifth Generation Mobile Communications Promotion Forum (5GMF). The EU is already investing €700 million by 2020 in this Public-Private 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 European Commission and Europe’s tech industry have recently also presented the EU’s ambitious vision of 5G technologies and infrastructure to give the EU a strong voice in global 5G discussions and lead to further 5G international agreements. (see speech of Commissioner Oettinger: 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.
Research and Innovation cooperation
The EU and Japan are close partners on the international stage of research and innovation. Japan was an active partner in the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2007-2013). As of May 2015, Japanese entities participated 116 times in FP7 signed grant agreements, involving 56 different Japanese organisations, receiving a total EU contribution of €9.8 million. In this time, 352 Japanese researchers have been funded through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and 18 Japanese researchers have received an ERC grant. Since the start of Horizon 2020 in 2014, there have been 28 Japanese participations. In addition, the Commission has co-financed 20 joint projects in ICT, aeronautics, materials and energy for a total EU contribution of €34 million.
The joint vision endorsed today is a statement of mutual understanding that gives support and substance to the strategic partnership governed under the 2011 Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.