Presenting the prize, Director-General of the Commission’s DG Connect, Roberto Viola, declared: “The winner of the European 5G Pioneer Award illustrates that commercial 5G launch in Europe is within reach. We hope that leading European actors follow this example to develop 5G ecosystems at scale.”
The European 5G Pioneer Award is a joint initiative announced by Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel and the GSMA at last year’s Mobile World Congress in order to highlight the pioneering role of European frontrunners deploying new 5G networks and preparing for the commercial launch of 5G services. This award, which is part of the prestigious list of Global Mobile Awards (GLOMOs), was open to all companies, organisations, municipalities and partnerships that have launched fully-fledged commercial or pre-commercial 5G service initiatives in the EU at city, regional, or other geographic level.
Of the five nominees shortlisted for the Award, the jury chose Deutsche Telekom for its initiative to roll out 5G as early as in 2020 as part of a significant capacity enhancement to provide high-speed connectivity and differentiated services. The new 5G radio interface is also a central element of this early deployment and will work in combination with LTE (4G) in the initial phase.
The ceremony also included the awarding of other prizes as part of the series of GLOMO Awards. In particular European companies won all three 5G awards including the 5G Industry Partnership Award that went to the Hamburg Port Authority, Deutsche Telekom and Nokia for First Large Scale Industrial Commercial 5G Trial. This trial is supported in the framework of the EU-funded project 5G-MoNArch, which is part of the second phase of the 5G Public Private Partnership (5G PPP). The project covers very innovative use cases related to traffic light control, virtual reality, and other advanced logistical applications. Other prominent prizes that were awarded to European nominees were the global 5G Leadership Award (Nokia), the Best Mobile Network Infrastructure (Ericsson), the Green Mobile Award (Gencell & Telefonica), the Best Mobile Innovation for Commerce (UBAMarket, UK). In addition, Athonet (Italy) won the largest number of prizes including three prizes in the Best Mobile Technology category and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Prize. Finally, the Finnish Government won the Prize for Government Excellence.
5G will be a key factor for the European economy and society. The Commission’s 5G Action Plan stresses the strategic importance of rapid progress in the technology, deployment and take-up of 5G communication services. The 5G Observatory launched last year by the Commission tracks Europe's progress in putting the Action Plan into practice. Its most recent quarterly report showed that Europe is a world leader in 5G large-scale trials, in particular with vertical sectors. However, in the area of 5G spectrum assignment a lot of work still needs to be done by EU countries.
From a European perspective, the key priority is to see Europe’s players investing in comprehensive 5G rollout covering all EU countries, and developing the new 5G ecosystems enabling new applications with a high societal impact. All parts of the world are now engaged in the “5G Olympics”, and the 5G GLOMO awards are the first "medals" that give recognition to leaders in 5G deployment and ecosystems in Europe.