EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Vertical industries across Europe risk “losing to global competition”, unless they embrace digitalisation underpinned by 5G development, warned Commissioner Gunther Oettinger.

Oettinger, who serves as European Commissioner for digital economy and society, told Mobile World Live that every industry and economic sector “should be, can be and will be digitalised”, with the best connectivity essential, pointing to 5G in particular.

Over the past year, Oettinger has also been influential in spearheading Europe’s 5G development, and has struck collaboration agreements with a number of countries, with the aim of launching networks by 2020.

While noting that a global 5G effort was important, with collaboration required on standardisation, spectrum allocation and infrastructure, Oettinger reiterated his ambition for Europe to have its “own competencies to be a leader in this technology”.

“We need all relevant parts of the value chain, so we set up the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) between the digital sector and the EC to collaborate on research, projects, standardisation and investment,” he said. “5G is an enabler for new services in our European economy.”

Within the exclusive interview, Oettinger also opened up on where he believes the funding for 5G should come from, as well as thoughts on spectrum harmonisation.

Click here to watch.