Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Towards 5G

The "fifth generation"of telecommunications systems or the so-called 5G
The "fifth generation" of telecommunications systems, or 5G, will be the most critical building block of our "digital society" in the next decade. Europe has taken significant steps to lead global developments towards this strategic technology.

The next generation of communication systems, as pursued in 5G, will be the first instance of a truly converged network environment where wired and wireless communications will use the same infrastructure, driving the future networked society. It will provide virtually ubiquitous, ultra-high bandwidth, "connectivity" not only to individual users but also to connected objects. Therefore, it is expected that the future 5G infrastructure will serve a wide range of applications and sectors including professional uses (e.g. assisted driving, eHealth, energy management, possibly safety applications, etc).


What is 5G? the infographic describes the development of 5G overtime

EU in the lead of the 5G Vision

There is an average 10-year time cycle between two generations of communications infrastructures historically. However, this period tends to shrink as the pace of technological developments accelerates. Therefore, it is now time to kick-start 5G developments and plan future investments.

The European Commission signed a landmark agreement with the ‘5G Infrastructure Association’ on 17 December 2013, representing major industry players, to establish a Public Private Partnership on 5G (5G PPP). This is the EU flagship initiative to accelerate research developments in 5G technology. The European Commission has earmarked a public funding of €700 million through the Horizon 2020 Programme to support this activity. EU industry is set to match this investment by up to 5 times, to more than €3 billion euros.

EU investment in 5G research and standards is also an essential factor in reinforcing EU know-how and leadership in the field of ultrafast broadband. It is not only necessary to support the traffic volume expected by 2020 but also to boost networks and Internet architectures in emerging areas such as machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

At the Mobile World Congress 2015, the European Commission and Europe's tech industry presented the EU's vision of 5G technologies and infrastructure. One year later, at the Mobile World Congress 2016, the European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mr Günther H. Oettinger, announced that Europe has started working on an action plan to deploy 5G technology in the EU by 2020.

The European Commission identifies the 5G standards as one of the five priority areas under the recently launched Digitising European Industry initiative.

The EU has also embarked on an ambitious international plan to accelerate global consensus building on 5G.


5G Team
Last updated on 19/04/2016 - 11:07


Pearse O'donohue's picture
We are moving towards the coordinated deployment of commercial, 5th Generation communication services in Europe by 2020. What have we done so far and what's next?
Mario Campolargo's picture
“The Dawn of 5G”, this year's jubilee edition of EuCNC
Werner Mohr's picture
Werner MOHR
White paper on vertical sectors published by the 5G Public Private Partnership
Paul Timmers's picture
During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, senior executives from more than 20 major players in the telecommunication and automotive industries joined Commissioner Oettinger in the second edition of his Roundtable on connected and automated driving.
Laertis Antonios Ando Vassiliou's picture
Laertis Antonios ANDO VASSILIOU
European Commission brings its central building – Berlaymont - to the Mobile World Congress 2016 (MWC16). The EC pavilion designed by Open Platform for Architecture will take a shape of the Brussels headquarters and seeks to highlight European Commission's role as the bridge between EU countries and people.
Thibaut Kleiner's picture
Imagine you could experience a mobile network which offers you 100 times faster speed than today's 4G network! This is possible today thanks to the 5GNOW EU funded project. The project team succeeded to question the underlying design principles of today’s 4G network and designed, improved and tested new candidate radio waveforms to transfer wireless data.
Mario Campolargo's picture
5G, Shaping the Vision: this was the motto of this year's European Conference on Networks Communications (EuCNC2015), which attracted numerous keynotes and delegates from Europe and other regions of the world and I am once again proud to be a part of it.
Thibaut Kleiner's picture
Network technologies at the core of the digital economy and society: the EU vision on 5G in the realisation of the digital single market and the preparation for large scale testing of the internet of things.
Mario Campolargo's picture
13/11/2014, Brussels: The first EU workshop on spectrum requirements for 5G: EU research, regulators and policy makers get together in a vibrant debate!
Mario Campolargo's picture
Coming back from the European Conference on Networks Communications (EuCNC2014) held on 23-26 June in Bologna, it is my pleasure to share insights on how research and technology is developing in this area.
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