Europe’s telecommunications ministers agreed a joint roadmap for the development and rollout of 5G technology across the EU, ahead of discussions on the controversial Electronic Communications Code (ECC) later this week.
At a meeting in Estonia, member state representatives on the Telecoms Council agreed a roadmap towards rolling out 5G in major cities and transport routes across the economic zone by 2025, building on an initial agreement reached in July.
Its action plan lays out major activities and time-frames, including the allocation of frequency bands earmarked for 5G use in earlier agreements.
“Today we passed the next important stage,” Estonia’s Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (pictured) said: “It is no secret that a digital Europe is a priority for the Estonian Presidency, however, a digital society cannot be created without 5G networks.”
Telecoms Council members will meet with European Commission (EC) and European Parliament representatives on 6 December to discuss changes to the ECC, a proposed piece of legislation which pitched the telecoms industry against European Parliament politicians over the length of spectrum licences and other measures deemed necessary to encourage operator investment.
Due to the nature of the meeting, details of the discussions may not be made public.
The GSMA continued to exert pressure on the Telecoms Council, reiterating the need to create regulation which encourages investment in a statement on 4 December. The association is pushing for measures including the approval of minimum spectrum licence lengths to strengthen the business case for large operator investments in next-generation networks.
GSMA VP and head of Europe Afke Schaart said: “Europe has an opportunity to reestablish itself as a global technology leader as we move toward the 5G era, but this can only happen if policy makers move quickly and boldly to make the necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative services to Europe’s citizens.”
“A forward-looking regulatory environment designed to encourage long-term investment and innovation in Europe’s digital infrastructure is essential to maintaining a vibrant European mobile ecosystem and delivering the European Commission’s vision for a Gigabit Society.”
The Telecoms Council’s 5G roadmap agreement comes weeks after the EC-backed 5G Infrastructure Association released its latest plan for trials across the economic area. The body warned against hasty launches of the technology and highlighted the need for a unified approach.
Negotiations between the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council of member states over the ECC will continue into 2018.