EU urges rollout of 5G networks

EU urges rollout of 5G networks

Even though much of Europe and the UK in particular is just coming to terms with the launch of 4G networks that offer super fast mobile broadband speeds and connectivity, the European Union (EU) has called for attentions to be turned to 5G.

That is the opinion of Neelie Kroes, the vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the digital agenda, who described the technology as "an unmissable opportunity" for Europe to get ahead of the game.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona she noted that there are a number of broadband goals that need to be achieved. She highlighted new figures that indicate mobile broadband penetration reached 47.8 per cent in 2012, with almost one broadband SIM for every two Europeans.

Ms Kroes has earmarked €50 million (£43 million) for funding research into 5G technology, which will have the capabilities to offer even faster mobile broadband to professionals and business working on the move through personal devices.

"We have rocketing demands from users. Recent growth in mobile data could continue, climbing 66 per cent each year – as we move to 4G, the cloud, and the 'internet of things', with mobile devices soon outnumbering people," she noted.

While Ms Kroes admitted that rolling out 4G across Europe is "important" there needs to be some consideration about what will come next.

"Will future ubiquitous ultra-high bandwidth communication infrastructure, also known as 5G, be pioneered by European industry, based on European research, creating European jobs? Or will global competitors get there first – and, by the way, many of them are already investing heavily," she said.

Deutsche Telekom, BT, France Telecom and Telefonica are already getting on board with the advanced technology and looking into its feasibility. They have also added €75 million to the EU's funding pot.

While 5G could be the future, many professionals in the UK would be forgiven in thinking it may take years to reach these shores, as the protracted 4G auction has only just been completed after years of regulatory issues and legal debates.