UK and Japan forge closer links on telecoms

  • Two nations agree to closer cooperation to solve global telecoms supply chain issues
  • Includes commitment to more information sharing on innovative ways to build networks
  • Will support R&D collaboration on future tech such as Open RAN and 6G

The UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure Julia Lopez and Japan’s Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Yuji Sasaki met in London on Friday morning. They agreed several joint initiatives to support efforts to reduce the global overreliance on a small number of suppliers to build and maintain telecoms networks.

Both nations committed to greater information sharing 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, which allow telecom providers to mix and match technical equipment from different suppliers within a network.

The Japanese and UK 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.

UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said:

The UK and Japan share a track record of strong leadership and expertise on telecoms and we both recognise 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.

Japan’s Vice-Minister of Policy Coordination for International Affairs Yuji Sasaki said:

It is my great pleasure to announce the telecommunications cooperation framework between Japan and the UK which will promote vendor diversification, including for 5G. Our countries both recognise 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.

The UK has already announced similar partnerships with India and the US to work closer together to achieve shared ambitions on telecoms diversification. These 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 Open RAN.

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