UK and Japan

UK and Japan to diversify tech used in telecoms networks

The governments of the UK and Japan have agreed several joint initiatives to support efforts to reduce the global overreliance on a small number of suppliers to build and maintain telecoms networks.

The U.K. Ministry for Digital Infrastructure said that both nations committed to share information on their respective policy approaches seeking to build a more competitive and diverse global market for telecoms equipment, including for 5G and future wireless networks.

Further commitments include deeper cooperation on research and development, particularly on open and interoperable network technologies such as Open RAN (O-RAN).

The Japanese and U.K. governments also agreed to share information and facilitate joint efforts between industry and academia in both countries to develop future communications technologies such as 6G, which has not yet been standardized.

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“We will explore opportunities to cooperate on research and development initiatives, with a particular focus on seeking to support the work of industry partners in accelerating the development of interoperable equipment and open interfaces, such as O-RAN.

This will include bringing together experts from industry, academia and government to share information, promoting collaboration between testing facilities in the UK and Japan, and identifying opportunities to launch joint R&D projects,” both governments said in a joint statement.

The two governments also recognized that the lack of diversity of suppliers in the telecommunications equipment market is a global issue that will require a collaborative and concerted approach from a wide range of international stakeholders.

Th U.K. government noted that these initiatives will support the UK’s £250 million 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy which seeks to build a more competitive and diverse telecoms supply market by supporting incumbent suppliers, attracting new suppliers into the UK market and accelerating the development and deployment of open-interface solutions such as O-RAN.

U.K. Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said:

“The UK and Japan share a track record of strong leadership and expertise on telecoms and we both recognize the need for a more diverse global telecoms market. This partnership opens up important new avenues for our countries to work together to pursue our shared goal of a more secure, competitive and innovative telecoms supply chain.”

“The telecommunications cooperation framework between Japan and the UK will promote vendor diversification, including for 5G. Our countries both recognize the importance of initiatives to secure telecommunication infrastructure supply chains.

A secure, competitive and innovative supply chain is essential. Japan and the UK will pursue this together through this new framework,” said Japan’s Vice-Minister of Policy Coordination for International Affairs Yuji Sasaki.

The U.K. has already announced similar partnerships with India and the U.S. to work closer together to achieve shared ambitions on telecoms diversification.