Ericsson and Telefónica will collaborate on 5G research, working together to create new technologies, products and services.
The two companies will support new and existing initiatives looking to develop 5G technologies, such as 5GPPP and the European Technology Platform for Communications Networks and Services.
Ericsson is already working with Telefónica in its Spanish 5TONIC research lab, which opened last year, as well as with telcos around the world on a range of different 5G projects.
Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson said: "5G is an evolution journey, and the transition will be gradual with deployment of complete, commercial 5G systems not expected until 2020. To achieve the expected capabilities of 5G, investments in joint research and trialing of 5G technologies must continue."
Enrique Blanco, CTO, Telefónica Group, added: "Telefónica continues advancing its role as a key player in the development of 5G technologies, where we have been actively contributing to relevant international projects, industry associations and standardisation bodies.
"We see the launch of 5G not as a date in the future, but as a development ecosystem that needs to start already now. Through this agreement, and initiatives like 5TONIC laboratory in Spain, we will be able to trial and prioritise network functions and services that will become part of the 5G networks in the near future."
Ericsson will showcase 5G technology, such as its 5G Radio Test Bed, Massive MIMO and beam tracking, at next week's Mobile World Congress.
Meanwhile, the vendor has demonstrated speeds of 1GBps in a trial with Telstra and Qualcomm.
Ericsson used its Networks Software 16B along with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 LTE modem in the LTE-Advanced demonstration.
An updated version of the vendor's annual Mobility Report, released in time for Mobile World Congress, revealed global mobile data traffic grew 65 percent between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015.
There are now one billion LTE subscriptions globally, with around 160 million added in the fourth quarter of last year.
There are now as many mobile subscriptions as there are people, around 7.3 billion.