GSMA and ETNO warn Europe over 5G delays

GSMA and ETNO warn Europe over 5G delays

Telecoms industry bodies have fired a warning to EU regulators that a lack of ambition on spectrum reform will slow the pace of 5G rollouts.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) and the GSM Association said they were left concerned that European leaders have abandoned their ambitions to make Europe a leader in 5G technology.

Last year, the European Commission set out ambitious plans to launch 5G services by 2020, keeping pace with deployments in the United States and Asia, as part of its “5G Action Plan”.

The Action Plan, alongside the telecoms industry’s 5G Manifesto, identified a need for governments to reform laws around mobile spectrum as a key condition for 5G deployment. 5G connectivity is expected to require a huge amount of spectrum, as well as a significant investment from the industry.

Lise Fuhr, director general of ETNO, said: “The EU institutional debate risks delaying a major source of societal and economic growth. 5G is the essential platform to provide new services to consumers and businesses”.

The joint statement from ETNO and the GSMA called on the EC to maintain or strengthen its proposals to help achieve the speedy deployment of 5G. The industry bodies identified a number of issues that European regulators need to address, including: 

• predictability of all licensing conditions;

• Support of easier spectrum trading and leasing proposals;

• Allowances for a neutral approach in terms of general authorisations and spectrum sharing, and ensuring the alignment with international rules in terms of interferences;

• Encouragement of greater consistency among Member States in approaches to spectrum awards.

Afke Schaart, Vice-President Europe at GSMA, said: “European legislators are now at a watershed moment. The level of ambition to roll out 5G in Europe asserted in the European Electronic Communications Code, must now be maintained to ensure that the European citizens reap the benefits of innovation brought about by the ‘Gigabit Society’”.

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