Ericsson will work on Cloud RAN with China Mobile after the two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the technology.
The two year project will concentrate on understanding how the technology can work, potential use cases and ecosystem development.
Research will be conducted into network functions virtualisation-based Cloud RAN and building Cloud RAN architecture for future 5G networks. Standardisation work on related interfaces and capabilities will also be held.
The Chinese operator, the world's biggest by volume of subscribers, is already working with Huawei on a separate project exploring the technology.
China Mobile also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nokia in late 2015 to explore potential 5G technologies although Cloud RAN was not highlighted.
China Mobile and Ericsson both said Cloud RAN would serve as a "key facilitator" for operators as they shift from LTE to 5G networks.
Further trials will take place during the coming months as the operator ultimately eyes commercial deployment.