‌‌‌Finnish vendor Nokia and operator China Mobile signed an agreement to tap the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimise future networks and enable the delivery of new Edge Cloud and 5G services.

The deal will see a laboratory set up in Hangzhou, China which will develop a demo system to verify technology use cases using Nokia 5G Future X architecture, which is described as an end-to-end 5G portfolio of solutions, software and services. Nokia bills the set-up as providing communications service providers with an early opportunity to cash in on the promise of the next-generation technology.

At the laboratory, Nokia and China Mobile will foster an open RAN and 5G ecosystem, working with third parties to leverage AI and machine learning to optimise networks for the delivery of services including cloud virtual reality gaming.

In a joint statement the companies explained that to deal with “massive and rapidly changing connectivity and coverage demands” on 5G networks by billions of IoT devices and a variety of consumer services, AI and machine learning can ensure network resources are automatically allocated to meet all service requirements, with high quality and reliability.

The pair will also conduct technology field trials and demonstrations.

Asia Pacific is tipped to hit 675 million 5G connections in seven years, putting it on track to be the world’s largest 5G region by 2025, the GSMA predicted in its latest Mobile Economy report.

The deal with China Mobile comes days after Nokia and Chinese internet giant Tencent announced similar plans to establish a joint 5G lab offering end-to-end test facilities.