LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 EUROPE: Alexander De Croo, deputy prime minister of Belgium, urged governments and regulators across Europe to adopt a change in mind set when it comes to the development of 5G, urging a more open approach to spectrum to also test other innovations and business models.
De Croo, speaking in the opening keynote at GSMA’s M360 Europe event in Brussels, said a rethink was needed in the continent to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, as he revealed the country plans to open up spectrum purely “to test things out” later this year.
“The industry today is looking at ways to use spectrum to test 5G, and everyone is watching this, and we have asked regulators to open up spectrum as a sandbox to test things out,” he said.
“In return, we ask that when you come to play in the sandbox, you involve our start-ups and our community and our academics.”
He said the government will open up this experimental spectrum at a marginal cost, adding that those currently embarking on 5G trials should not only test out technical specifications, but also new business models to promote technological entrepreneurship across the industry.
On a similar theme, De Croo, who is also the country’s minister for development cooperation, the digital agenda and telecommunications, started his speech by heralding the era of “globalisation”, with the entire world now simultaneously using and promoting “different types of technology, which find each other and converge”.
“You see the ecosystem growing everywhere, not only in Silicon Valley, but Africa, Asia and across Europe,” he said. “Technology used to be created in the western world and then consumed globally, not anymore.”