EU agrees to roadmap for 5G services

The negotiations for Brexit may be taking time to complete but Europe’s telecommunications ministers have been quick to agree to a roadmap for 5G. This constitutes a common understanding on the harmonization of 5G spectrum bands and their allocation to telecommunications operators. 

In a meeting held in Estonia, the member states representatives on the Telecom Council, agreed to a plan that would see 5G being rolled out across European cities by 2025. "The 5G roadmap lays out major activities and their time frame. With the roadmap, we agreed on plans for harmonising the technical use and purpose of the 5G spectrum and the allocation to telecommunications operators. It is no secret that a digital Europe is a priority for the Estonian Presidency, however, a digital society cannot be created without 5G networks," said Estonian IT minister Urve Palo. 

The decision builds on an initial agreement on 5G reached at Tallinn in July. This, claimed Estonian telecoms minister Urve Palo, would aid the wave of digitization across Europe, “Everybody and everything will be using 5G networks to communicate in the future,” she said.

The agreement was reached just weeks after the EU-backed 5GIA warned about over-hyping 5G achievement and of the need for common standards for the technology and for closer co-operation between countries and across vertical sectors.


There is still some controversy around the corner, however. The EU is set to meet to discuss the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). a proposal that has already set the telecommunications industry against politicians. There’s an underlying disagreement about the length of spectrum licences. 

Industry body the GSMA warns that more needs to be done to encourage investment. In a statement, the GSMA said that it was concerned about the current state of discussions and called for greater certainty and predictability for spectrum licenses to help the rollout of 5G services.

“Europe has an opportunity to re-establish itself as a global technology leader but this can only happen if policymakers move quickly and boldly to make the necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative services to Europe’s citizens,” said Afke Schaart, vice president Europe, GSMA.