8th Apr 2020


EU-China 5G research: fast-tracking the future

  • 5G will be the platform for mobile Internet and the Internet of Things (IoT) as of 2020. User demand is set to explode. (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The 5G research deal signed by the EU and China in September is a crucial step towards these two world powers growing closer together.

Both will benefit unprecedentedly from the partnership, as will consumers, who will enjoy better technologies and services in the future, and ICT vendors, who will benefit from greater access to each other's markets.

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  • Tony Graziano is Vice-President of Huawei’s EU Public Affairs Office (Photo: Huawei)

Economic growth requires increased cooperation between the EU and China. A staggering three million-plus jobs depend on sales of goods and services to China, according to a recent report by the European Commission. Through deeper cooperation with China, the EU can boost the competitiveness of its ICT sector, create more jobs and growth, and tackle important challenges in society; and so can China. It is a nailed-on win-win.

In the spirit of such cooperation, I was pleased to be one of the Huawei executives welcoming EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas and his delegation on a visit to our Beijing research facilities a few weeks ago.

We showcased Huawei's progress in 5G technologies and discussed our participation in EU research projects, and how we might help the EC achieve its Digital Agenda objectives for creating jobs and growth through ICT.

Connecting for connectivity

5G will be the platform for mobile Internet and the Internet of Things (IoT) as of 2020. User demand is set to explode.

Consider the projected figures: a 1 000-fold increase in mobile traffic, 100-times more connected devices than there are today, data transmission speeds 100-times faster than 4G.

With 5G-enabled devices, users will be able to communicate with others from everywhere – at home, in public places, or on the road. Industry and health care will be transformed through the IoT and its massive connections. Smart homes, self-driving cars, telemedicine, ultra-HD video and many other applications will all become reality in a better connected world.

At Huawei, we believe the EU-China partnership will drive progress in crucial 5G areas between now and 2020: the development of a global vision, the coordination of standards and spectrum use, and co-funded R&D projects.

Huawei shares these values of openness and collaboration, and is committed to playing its part in delivering on the objectives of the agreement. It could result in huge savings for companies on both sides.

Huawei will have invested at least USD 600 million in 5G research and innovation by 2018. The company has more than 300 engineers engaged in 5G research, and has set up nine 5G R&D centres worldwide.

In Europe, we are helping lay the foundations for future mobile and wireless communications systems by taking an active role in the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP) and leading EU research projects such as METIS.

We also have engineers working with their peers at Surrey University's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) in the UK, and we have launched a 5G Vertical Industry Accelerator and test bed with European partners in Munich. In addition, we are helping European companies to apply for R&D funds and join standards organisations in China.

Investing in the future

An immediate priority for the EU-China partnership is to identify which 5G projects in both regions should be co-funded.

Between 2016 and 2020, Europe intends to provide over EUR 100 million per year in funding, matched by RMB 200 million from the Chinese side, for joint research and innovation activities in strategic areas such as biotechnology, sustainable urbanisation, energy, health and the mobility of young researchers.

The two parties are also coordinating efforts to set robust standards, not only for 5G, but also for the cloud computing and IoT applications that will use the new networks.

Huawei can play its part here, in the interests of global and open standards, by promoting the greater involvement of European companies in China's standardisation process, and by supporting their involvement in implementing and promoting Chinese telecom standards globally.


Antonio Salvatore Graziano

Since May 2011, Mr Graziano has held the position of Vice-President at Huawei's European Public Affairs and Communications Office in Brussels.Mr Graziano holds a B.Sc. Honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Master's certificate in Business administration from the University College of Cardiff, UK.

Starting off as an engineer for AB Electronics Newport, Wales, he spent nine years at Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) Television Division, where he held senior European and international positions. He went on to join EACEM (the former European Association of the Consumer Electronic Manufacturer) where he was appointed Technical Officer charged with organising, coordinating and administering EACEM's Technical Committee liaisons with standardisation institutes and EU legislators and with providing expert information and advice on regulatory issues.

In 2001, Mr Graziano joined DIGITALEUROPE, the organisation representing the ICT industry in Brussels, to become their Director of Public Affairs with a specific focus on technical and environmental policy and regulation.

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This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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