The European Commission and China reached an agreement Monday to cooperate on the development of 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless networks. Under the terms of the agreement, both parties promise to share research and work toward the standardization of 5G connectivity.
Both also said they would allow each other access to research funding and membership in Chinese and European Union 5G associations. The EU's 5G PPP Association and China's IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Association are devoted toward the research and development of 5G technology.
Promising transfer rates as high as 20 gigabytes of data per second, 5G wireless would blaze past the current 4G standard, which offers speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. 5G is expected to be commercially available around 2020.
5G is considered the linchpin for the Internet of Things, the phrase given to the idea of connecting everything to the Internet, meaning your cars, homes, appliances, health monitors, wearable devices and more.
The latest agreement builds on similar ones the European Commission made with South Korea in June of 2014 and with Japan in May of 2015. Through its Horizon 2020 Program, the European Commission also devoted 700 million euros (.81 million) toward research into 5G technology.
"5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide," Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in a statement. "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."