Vodafone Group, Ericsson and BMW warned the EU that restricting the use of 5G in connected cars in favour of Wi-Fi-based technology could hamper investment and put the continent behind rivals China and the US.
In a joint statement, the companies argued the case for Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) technology, also backed by telecoms giants Deutsche Telekom, Huawei and Qualcomm, stating it was crucial for the industry to have the freedom to introduce technologies to help the EU achieve its transport goals.
The comments followed a similar line adopted by industry groups GSMA and ETNO last week, as concerns grow about the European Commission’s stance around the use of cellular technology in vehicles.
The EC is exploring legislation around connected cars in the continent to speed rollout, and “as it stands today”, the EC’s latest proposal rules out the use of C-V2X in favour of a single purpose Wi-Fi technology called ITS-G5 for vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to road infrastructure and vehicle to control centre interactions, said the companies.
Reuters said the EC will then review the rules three years after implementation, to take into account new technologies. ITS-G5 is supported by major car manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Renault.
In the statement, the companies said a balance needs to be struck when it comes to rules and regulations around the sector, with a requirement to “keep people safe”, but to also “nurture and encourage innovation”.
The companies added that despite the EC’s emphasis on taking a “hybrid communications approach”, in its transport strategy in 2016, “it is concerning that just two years later the principle of technological neutrality appears to be no longer adhered to by the European Commission”.
Outlining its case, the companies said recent testing has “shown the superior performance of C-V2X relevant to non-cellular ITS technology, while arguing that Wi-Fi has no relationship to existing cellular infrastructure, “nor will it be compatible with 5G”, meaning adoption will be limited.
In addition, it said backing Wi-Fi alone “appears to run counter to trends in China and the US, where cellular technology is emerging as a strong candidate for connecting vehicles”.
They also highlighted that by excluding cellular technologies, transport and telecoms industries have less incentive to invest in 5G along roads, and could be counter-intuitive to the EC’s transport strategy of reducing road fatalities and serious injuries, given the amount of road users that carry mobile devices.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back