Industry body the GSMA argued the European Commission (EC) ignored innovation and choice after the body backed the adoption of Wi-Fi technology in connected cars over cellular connectivity.

Yesterday (13 March), the EC as expected adopted new rules to advance deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) on Europe’s roads, as part of its long-term goal of “moving close to zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050″.

C-ITS includes ITS-G5 connectivity, which is compatible with the 802.11p Wi-Fi standard.

However, the GSMA described the technology as “outdated” in a statement, arguing the decision risked “undercutting Europe’s 5G future” and jeopardises the continent’s digital competitiveness.

It urged EU member states and the European Parliament to reject the proposed rules in favour of “more advanced technologies, like Cellular V2X” (C-V2X).

“The EU’s 5G Action Plan calls for all ‘major terrestrial transport paths to have uninterrupted coverage by 2025’. Rather than incentivising this outcome, the new legislation – the Delegated Act on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems – deals a blow to 5G rollout plans across Europe,” GSMA stated.

“As C-V2X is a key building block for future 5G networks and as connected cars are one of the most important 5G use cases, this decision to prioritise 802.11p will hinder 5G deployment.”

The GSMA said it fully supports the adoption of legislation to make European roads safer, but added the EC’s plan to “double down on an ageing technology” does a disservice to European drivers, the industry and “fails to take into account more recent technological innovation”.