The leaders of the five Nordic countries have pledged to work together on 5G by creating the market conditions that will allow next generation networks to flourish.
The agreement came during the annual two-day summit of regional leaders, this year hosted by Swedish Prime Minister Löfven and attended by his counterparts Erna Solberg of Norway, Lars Løkke Rasmussen of Denmark, Juha Sipilä of Finland and Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland.
“As the development of fifth generation wireless systems breaks through, the Nordic countries will be at the forefront of that development to become world leaders in using 5G technology for the development and digitalisation of all sectors of society,” said the letter.
“At political level, we commit to creating the conditions in the public sector for digitalisation and 5G to flourish. As Nordic prime ministers, we have agreed to the common vision of being the first and most integrated 5G region in the world. We want to create a common Nordic 5G space.”
The Nordic region has traditionally been one of the more advanced in Europe thanks to several innovative mobile operators and the presence of Nokia and Ericsson. However there are fears that Europe in general will be left behind in the early stages of 5G by Asia and the US, having already been beaten in the race to 4G in the last decade.
Analysts at CCS insight say market fragmentation, increasingly strict regulation and a focus on 4G means Europe is further back in the race to 5G. They predict that the 100 million barrier will only be breached in 2023.
Individual governments are backing 5G projects, as is the European Union (EU), and the hope is that this latest development will accelerate rollout. The letter was welcomed by several major operators and vendors in Scandinavia, including Ericsson, Nokia, Tele2, Telia, Telenor and Vodafone Iceland.
“We look forward to actively collaborating with the Ministers of Digitalization and Ministers responsible for the key sectors identified as well as other stakeholders on the follow-up to the letter of intent,” said a joint statement.
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