EU Hoping for US and Chinese Cooperation for 5G

gunther oettingerGuenther Oettinger, the EUs Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, outlined his hopes for the future of mobile broadband across Europe and beyond in a speech at the Mobile World Congress.

Chief among his plans were agreements with China, Japan and the US to ensure that Europe keeps pace with developments in 5G technology, having fallen behind of the US, Japan and South Korea in its deployment of 4G.

“The digital economy is simply becoming the economy,” said Oettinger. “And the future network infrastructure, 5G, will become the infrastructure. Everybody and everything will use 5G. Anywhere, at any time, and on the move, always best connected with almost zero delay and a perceived limitless capacity.”

The European Commission has already signed a joint declaration with South Korea to create a single global 5G standard and global spectrum harmonisation, and is hoping that other governments will join it to maximise global interoperability and economies of scale in production.

Industry experts are expecting the first commercial deployments of 5G to occur in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and European legislators and policymakers are determined to not repeat the mistakes made in the rollout of 4G, which has been patchy and slow across the continent.

“With 5G, Europe has a great opportunity to reinvent its telecom industrial landscape,” said Oettinger. “But 5G is much more complex than earlier generations, and it requires committed partnerships not only with the traditional telecom actors but more generally with the vertical usage sectors.

“It requires new ecosystems of software developers. 5G is also a bold opportunity to spearhead the digital industrial transformation of Europe, and to support the Digital Single Market.”