Nokia promised “a big bang” with a proposal for the “first commercial full spec 5G rollout” at the European football championship in 2020.
The target, and a call for Europe to be ambitious in its pursuit of 5G, came in a blog by Markus Borchert, Senior Vice President, Market Europe, at Nokia Networks.
Borchert said Nokia is also willing to champion the target as one of the key partners for this launch. The 2020 European football championship is, unusually, due to be held in 13 cities in 13 countries. Normally the event is held in one country, or at the most, two countries.
Nokia is not the only company hanging a deadline on a major sporting event. Earlier this year, KT Telecom said commercial 5G will be ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, a more aggressive target than the Finnish vendor’s.
Mind you, another major operator from Asia, NTT Docomo, is more cautious on launch dates. It will focus on a 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics date, but with the caveat that the launch will likely occur in the lower part of the spectrum below 6 GHz.
And Huawei is working with Russia’s MegaFon on trials for the 2018 World Cup.
Borchert was blogging after last week’s Telecoms Summit in Santander, at which “a clear sense of urgency” was detectable among Europe’s mobile industry.
“The European mobile industry has a strong track record in innovation and developing new services but is currently lagging behind other developed markets in next-generation networks,” he stated. “A sustainable 5G ecosystem is necessary to help push Europe back to the forefront of the global mobile industry again.”
He said Europe’s operators and vendors are taking radical steps in driving 5G-related research and standardisation, but that collaboration with policy makers is essential to speed the development of 4G and 5G.
5G needs to be made a more attractive long-term proposition, he said.
“The message to Europe’s capitals was clear: we need to improve investment conditions now! Other markets are meanwhile making rapid gains, and seriously challenging Europe’s innovator position.”