Monday May 20, 2024
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5G & The European Digital Future

 5G & The European Digital Future

The fifth generation of wireless technology (5G) is widely known for its broad application range, ultra-high bandwidth, and fascinating speeds combined with massive capacities. The network does not only connect smartphones but is applied in industrial 5G devices, as well as IoT on a level that can revolutionize many industry sectors. It is expected that an accelerated implementation of 5G will change the ways how Europeans live, work, and communicate. This article discusses the goals set in the past years and the current progress in relation to 5G.

The European Commission identified the benefits of the 5G in its early development stages, and timely invested in accelerated research and innovation technology, with more than €700 million (around £617 million) with the Horizon 2020 Programme. In addition, the 5G action plan ensures that 5G will be continuously developed in urban areas, as well as main transport paths for uninterrupted access until 2025. Furthermore, an additional goal of covering all populated areas with the 5G network by 2030 is set (aka The Digital Compass).

The European continent has ambitious goals regarding the expansion of the 5G network. However, analysing the current 5G landscape, the adoption of the network is not even across European countries. According to the statistics, the Netherlands, Cyprus, and Bulgaria are leading in terms of 5G availability, while 34 European countries have already deployed 5G networks. The expected adoption of 5G in Europe by 2025 is currently estimated to reach around half of the population, with Germany and the UK having the highest adoption rates on a European level. However, 5G in Europe is still behind the market when compared to other countries such as the US, China, or South Korea, although it has seen excellent growth in the past couple of years. In addition, a majority of European 5G networks are still backed-up by 4G LTE (which is 10 times slower than 5G). Some related issues are considered to be the issuance of permissions by governments for the specific frequency band. Another deployment decrease in some European countries was the coronavirus crisis.

Worth mentioning is also 6G, which goes beyond the gigabit capacities, and enters terabit values. A 6G system concept projects worth €60 million (around £53 million) are already launched in Europe, in addition to promoting a variety of research projects that enable the further development and evolution of 5G.

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