Europe’s 5G Action Plan
After the successful introduction of the 2G (GSM) mobile networks in Europe, another revolution is in sight with a new generation of network technologies, known as 5G, opening prospects for new digital economic and business models. 5G is not fully standardised yet but its key specifications and technological building blocks are already being developed and tested. 5G is seen as a game changer, enabling industrial transformations through wireless broadband services provided at gigabit speeds, the support of new types of applications connecting devices and objects (the Internet of Things), and versatility by way of software virtualisation allowing innovative business models across multiple sectors (e.g. transport, health, manufacturing, logistics, energy, media and entertainment). While these transformations have already started on the basis of existing networks, they will need 5G if they are to reach their full potential in the coming years.
5G will enable:
- industrial transformation through wireless broadband services provided at Gigabit speeds. 5G should offer data connections well above 10 Gigabits per second, latency below 5 milliseconds and the capability to exploit any available wireless resources (from Wi-Fi to 4G) and to handle millions of connected devices simultaneously),
- the support of new types of applications connecting devices and objects (the Internet of Things) and versatility, by way of software virtualisation allowing innovative business models across multiple sectors (e.g. transport, health, manufacturing, logistics, energy, media and entertainment).
It opens up prospects for new pervasive mobile virtual services, important for the economy and society ranging from virtual reality for remote collaboration to on-line health monitoring or connected cars, and possibly drone delivery or automated driving.
The Commission Strategy for the Digital Single Market (DSM strategy) and the Communication Connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market: Towards a European Gigabit Society underline the importance of very high capacity networks like 5G as a key asset for Europe to compete in the global market. Worldwide 5G revenues should reach the equivalent of €225 billion in 2055. Another source indicates that the benefits of 5G introduction across four key industrial sectors may reach €114 billion/year.
The Commission has identified the following key elements for the plan:
- Align roadmaps and priorities for a coordinated 5G deployment across all EU Member States, targeting early network introduction by 2018, and moving towards commercial large scale introduction;
- Make provisional spectrum bands available for 5G ahead of the 2019 World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-19), to be complemented by additional bands as quickly as possible, and work towards a recommended approach for the authorisation of the specific 5G spectrum bands above 6 GHz;
- Promote early deployment in major urban areas and along major transport paths;
- Promote pan-European multi-stakeholder trials as catalysts to turn technological innovation into full business solutions.
- Facilitate the implementation of an industry-led venture fund in support of 5G-based
- Unite leading actors in working towards the promotion of global standards.
As part of the next long-term EU budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission has proposed the Digital Europe Programme, the EU’s programme to accelerate the recovery and drive the digital transformation of Europe with a budget of €7.5 billion in current prices.
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06 January 2021