EU signs declaration on 5G leadership

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Member states agreed to establish a common baseline for 5G standards in Europe following industry warnings that the region faces falling behind the US and Asia

The European Union has signed a declaration that will see member states combine resources in order to facilitate the deployment of 5G services across the continent.

Member states gather in Tallinn, Estonia, to establish a common baseline for 5G standards in Europe, as the EU looks to position the region as a leader in mobile technology. All member states agreed an eight-point plan including steps to make spectrum available in a “timely and predictable manner” and provide “a predictable and legal framework for the granting and renewal of spectrum usage rights”.

“Everybody and everything will be using 5G networks to communicate in the future, and I am very glad that we managed to sign the declaration,” said Urve Palo, Estonian minister for entrepreneurship and IT.

“This indicates that all member states are thinking about the future and are willing to boost connectivity and Europe’s digital competitiveness to the next level. 5G will allow faster internet connections across Europe and make it possible to develop new technologies, such as connected cars, innovative industrial machines and e-health initiatives.”

It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 26 billion connected devices and 70% of people will own a smartphone. 5G will form the backbone of the EU digital single market industries of the future, modern public services and innovative applications such as connected cars, smart homes and mobile health services.

The declaration sets out a number of steps for member states to take in order to facilitate a fast roll-out of 5G and related services, following warnings from the industry that Europe was at risk of falling behind.

Notably, the declaration was signed by all 28 member states, including the UK, which is currently negotiating its exit from the Union following a referendum last year. Norway also signed up.

It comes as TIM (Telecom Italia) revealed plans to make San Marino into Europe’s first 5G country by launching the technology there in 2018.