The EU and China have signed a milestone agreement in the global race to develop 5G networks, the European Commission said today.

The agreement was signed by Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, and Miao Wei, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology.

In July Chinese telecoms firm Huawei and the Maltese government signed an agreement which will enable Huawei to test 5G mobile technology in Malta.

Commissioner Günther 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. With today's signature with China, the EU has now teamed up with the most important Asian partners in a global race to make 5G a reality by 2020. It's a crucial step in making 5G a success."

The EU and China will strengthen cooperation to reach a global understanding, by the end of 2015, on the concept, basic functionalities, key technologies and time plan for 5G.

They will explore possibilities in cooperating and implementing joint research actions in the area of 5G and facilitate bilateral participation of enterprises in 5G research projects in China and the EU.

They will also jointly promote global standardisation for 5G.

This joint declaration builds on similar agreements with South Korea and Japan signed with the Commission in recent months.

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