Nordic players TeliaSonera and Ericsson partnered to develop 5G technology with the aim of launching the network in 2018, two years ahead of a timeframe touted widely across the industry.

The companies said in a statement they aim to allow TeliaSonera customers in Stockholm and Tallinn to experience 5G services two years from now.

The companies added that their collaboration is based on a common understanding of market and customer needs, and they will develop 5G use cases and service scenarios, “including both communication and IoT services to address new business opportunities”.

While 5G standards are not yet defined, the touted 2018 launch is a big statement of intent.

Throughout 2015, a number of Asian and European players talked up their interests in 5G, with many companies earmarking 2020 as a realistic target for launching the network.

Meanwhile, Verizon is currently leading the way in the US, with plans to launch field trials for 5G throughout the country this year, while its rivals remain coy on their plans.

Johan Dennelind, president and CEO at TeliaSonera, explained the rationale behind bringing 5G to Stockholm and Tallinn first.

“(They) are two of the most connected cities in the world and we’ll take them to the next level,” he said. “5G will create completely new innovations, ecosystems and great services to our customers. I can’t wait to see how Stockholm and Tallinn will embrace 5G.”

Ericsson said 5G applications could include e-health with real time surveillance of patients and connected cars, with better performance in terms of capacity coverage and power consumption.

Hans Vestberg, president and CEO, also drew on Ericsson’s partnership with TeliaSonera when launching 4G.

“Together with TeliaSonera, we launched the first commercial 4G network in 2009, we will be in the forefront of 5G as well.”

Ericsson’s latest mobility report predicts there will be 150 million 5G subscriptions by 2021.