The European Union reported that it signed an agreement with South Korea to form a partnership in the development of 5G technologies.

Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes represented the European Union, while the Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Mun-Kee Choi represented South Korea.

5G is a new network infrastructure and technology that is a natural progression of the current Internet technologies as the demand for wireless connectivity continues to grow at a massive pace. 5G will not just provide faster Internet speeds, as it will also provide new services and functionalities that previous forms of Internet networks are not able to offer.

"5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and South Korea recognise this," said Kroes.

To this effort, the two parties signed the Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology and 5G. With the agreement, the European Union and South Korea look to deepen talks on Net Futures, which aside from 5G also includes networking, communications and cloud computing.

Both parties will also move towards a coordinated call for proposals of research projects on the topic, which the partnership is looking to launch in 2016.

The European Union's 5G Infrastructure Association, which has a member line-up that includes Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Atos, Telenor, Telecom Italia, and Telefonica, and South Korea's 5G Forum will also be signing an industry memorandum of understanding.

The European Commission started a Public-Private Partnership on 5G in December of last year, which has the European Union making an investment of €700 million spread out over the next seven years. Companies within the telecommunications industry will match that investment amount by up to 500 percent to over €3 billion.

South Korea, on the other hand, is making investments and is in coordination with research efforts through the 5G Forum, along with other 5G initiatives in Japan, China, Taiwan and the United States.

According to Kroes in a speech last February, the European Union is looking to offer 5G services to its citizens by the end of 2015.

EE, the leading telecommunications provider in the U.K., said that it is aiming to launch a 5G network in the country by 2022. 

Japan has already started testing 5G networks with speeds of up to 10Gbps, while Samsung is at the forefront of 5G testing in South Korea.

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