As the report shows, preparations are intensifying in Europe as the first 5G networks are ready to be opened for business. The Finnish operator Elisa has already launched some 5G functionalities commercially. Further operators have announced plans for an initial launch this year. However, it is expected that large-scale deployment on a worldwide basis will really begin in 2020 when sufficient consumer 5G smartphones and tablets become available. In this respect, mobile operators have announced investment intentions, such as Deutsche Telekom’s €20 billion plan for fibre infrastructure, mainly to support 5G, for the period 2018-2021.
In addition, European industry is exploring new 5G market opportunities in numerous trials ranging from smart cities to Connected and Automated Mobility in partnerships such as in the 5G-PPP. Companies are preparing for the next wave of digital transformation in Europe using the advanced capabilities of 5G such as connectivity for mission-critical applications. Further progress in standards is still necessary to meet these critical requirements. In many of these "5G disciplines" (see also blog by Roberto Viola on 5G Olympics) such as in the automotive and transport sectors, healthcare, and energy, Europe already has global leaders. In addition to today's consumer services on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, this is also where the biggest societal impact can be achieved.
The Commission and EU countries are striving to create a favourable environment for building the ecosystems and developing know-how in Europe. In this regard the European 5G Observatory reports on progress in the area of spectrum and national roadmaps. Eight Member States have assigned at least one 5G pioneer band for use in 2020, and nine Member States have adopted a 5G strategy. Discussions at the European 5G conference cover many aspects of the recently published Commission report that serves as a guidance document at EU level for national 5G strategies and roadmaps.
The 5G Observatory will continue to report on the progress made in this regard as well as major market developments.
EU28 Scoreboard (January 2019)