European Commissioner Gunther Oettinger hailed “new momentum” for 5G, as a group of Europe’s largest telecoms companies officially published a 5G Manifesto, committed to the timely roll-out of the next-generation of mobile technology.
Backed by thirteen mobile operators, including Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and BT, two vendors (Nokia and Ericsson) and two satellite players, the Manifesto, as expected, follows a call by the Commission in February for the industry to develop a consensus on recommendations for the roll-out of 5G technology in Europe.
Oettinger said this will now be used for a more comprehensive 5G Action plan scheduled for this Autumn.
Within the 7-page document, some of Europe’s biggest names cite numerous challenges on the road to 5G, while calling on close collaboration between all telecoms players and the vertical industries to ensure technical requirements are addressed.
In particular, it called for less regulation and more state funding to ensure the potential of the technology is fully realised, including a need to support investment in fibre and 5G, as well as net neutrality concerns.
The Manifesto further provided details on proposed trials, which would run in various countries before 2018 (and the availability of the first 5G 3GPP release) and a more comprehensive effort once standards were close to being finalised.
It also opened up on some 5G use cases under consideration, in the automotive, eHealth, public safety and transport sectors, among others.
The operators said they will target launching 5G in at least one city in each of the 28 European member states by 2020, which is pretty much in line with targets set in the US and Asia.
Europe’s mobile future
In a blog post, Oettinger said “what is at stake with 5G is nothing less than Europe’s global competitiveness”.
“I am confident that Europe, the commission, regions, member states and industries can rise to the challenge of being a leader in deploying the networks of the future,” he added.
Industry association GSMA was one of the first to back the latest efforts around 5G, stating that Europe’s 5G leadership “will be driven by private sector investment and innovation, and backed by a fresh approach to regulation that keeps pace with dynamic and converging markets”.
Leading operators and vendors have too released statements backing the move, and their own role in the Manifesto.
Nokia’s Markus Borchert, SVP Europe, however warned that while the Manifesto is a step in the right direction, “there is a real sense of urgency when we see that Europe is still falling behind in LTE deployment”, in comparison to other leading nations such as the US, China, Japan and Korea.