5G in Europe
Eric Gaudillat, Head of the 5G Connectivity sector in the EU Commission’s DG Connect, highlighted the benefits and opportunities of widespread industrial deployment of 5G at a joint webinar of FiCom and EuroISPA. At the beginning of his speech, Gaudillat quoted Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who said in her speech on the state of the European Union last September that “the EU is committed to the 5G and fibre network, in which unprecedented investments will be made”.
The EU Digital Compass summarises the EU’s digital development goals for 2030 into four main priorities: skills, secure and sustainable digital infrastructures, digital transformation of businesses and digitalisation of public services. 5G is an important part of Europe’s digital infrastructure.
5G coverage of the whole population for smartphone use is not yet sufficient, but the new mobile network generation has more uses, especially in industry. 5G will enable new solutions for industrial needs: as network capacity, speed and reliability increase, solutions based on robotics, virtual reality, and flexible production environments will become more common.
Gaudillat mentioned the following EU-level projects as examples:
- Established in late 2021, the European Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership programme, aims to ensure Europe’s industrial leadership in 5G and 6G by promoting 5G and preparing for the research and early deployment of 6G technology.
- According to the conditions of the Recovery and Resilience Facility allocated to the Member States of the EU after the Coronavirus crisis, 20 per cent of the investment and reform entities had to be related to digitalisation. There have been, for example, projects related to microelectronics, cloud computing services, submarine cables and 5G corridors between EU countries, and 11 national recovery plans include 5G investments.
- The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility fund has allocated two billion euros to digitalisation projects. With regard to 5G, the projects focus on smart city development and cross-border 5G corridors, enabling autonomous traffic testing, for example, in the Baltic region.