The 2022 edition of The European 5G Conference took place on 25-26 January virtually. Now in its 6th year, the European 5G Conference has an established reputation as Brussels’ leading meeting place for discussion on 5G policy.
This year’s conference focused on the path to the Digital Decade – accelerating 5G rollout across Europe; public Funding and investment instruments; equipment ecosystems & the continued evolution of the 5G supply market; vertical connectivity – powering the enterprises of the future; working together to secure European and Global 5G networks; pushing the limits of 5G – what comes next?; providing the right mix of spectrum for the next generation of 5G connectivity and beyond; meeting the target of 5G connectivity for all EU citizens by 2030; and delivering densification – Streamlining the rollout of 5G networks in urban areas.
Working together to secure European and Global 5G networks
Pushing the limits of 5G – what comes next?
Providing the right mix of spectrum for the next generation of 5G connectivity and beyond – low, mid, mmWave and terahertz frequencies
Meeting the target of 5G connectivity for all EU citizens by 2030
Delivering densification – Streamlining the rollout of 5G networks in urban areas
Director, Future Networks, DG CONNECT
Director for Digital Society, Trust & Cybersecurity, DG CONNECT
Director of the Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department at the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)
Director, Connectivity, DG CONNECT
PTS; Co-Chair, BEREC Working Group on Wireless Network Evolution
Head of Market Certification and Standardisation Unit
European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA)
Director of Spectrum Policy and Analysis
CTO, Wireless Network
Rapporteur on Europe’s cyber security directive, NIS
Chief Adviser, Digital Connections
Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom
Director, International Spectrum Policy
Director of Wireless - AR\VR HW
Head of Unit, Future Networks, DG CONNECT
Government Affairs and Policy
Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs
Senior Manager, Spectrum
All times listed are in local Brussels time (CET).
As part of her annual State of the Union speech last autumn, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the upcoming governance framework, “Path to the Digital Decade”. This represented a shift from the targets and voluntary measures that have been the focus of previous plans towards more concrete measures and policies. Part of the framework was focused specifically around 5G and included the requirement for member states to develop a multi-year trajectory, outlining steps they have taken and policies they are planning to achieve the target of delivering 5G coverage for all populated areas in Europe by 2030. With a number of countries failing to meet previous deadlines relating to 5G rollout and release of spectrum, this session will look at the extent to which this new framework can address that.
Investment in 5G features heavily in the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) – the largest component of Next Generation EU, the EU’s landmark instrument for post-pandemic recovery. This signifies a significant paradigm shift in public financing for the sector – never before has so much public investment been available to help drive forward the development of network infrastructures in Europe and boost 5G network rollout. A specific objective for funding has been on multi country projects (MCPs) and the creation of cross-border initiatives that bring together the expertise of several member states to deliver large-scale projects that no single Member State could develop on its own. This session will look at the specific areas that are being targeted with this funding, including plans for deployment of ‘5G corridors’ – networks along major transport paths to enable advanced Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) services. It will look at examples of large-scale MCPs that are starting to emerge, and at the work that is being done by the Commission to support and encourage Member States to use funding from their national recovery and resilience plans to join forces and support these initiatives.
Europe is home to 2 of the 3 major equipment suppliers and is a world leader in investment in 5G trials and pilots. Despite these facts however however, the overall investment that is being seen in 5G infrastructure is lagging behind other regions and many vertical sectors are slow to identify 5G business cases and embrace the new possibilities that it can bring. This session will look at what can be done to address these issues, and more broadly at the key trends that are influencing the future development of 5G ecosystems. A particular focus will be given to the emergence of OpenRAN and other associated initiatives such as network virtualisation. To what extent are these likely to be a ‘game changer’ for the future development of 5G, and what could this mean for European players?
The last 12 months have seen a continuation of efforts from European policymakers to deliver a common European approach to the cybersecurity of 5G networks. Following the launch of the EU 5G toolbox in 2020, a new cyber certification scheme for 5G has been proposed in an effort to coordinate standards and efforts for 5G security across member states. This session will take stock of the various initiatives and programmes launched in Europe in recent years to bolster cybersecurity and to counter the vastly expanded threat landscape resulting from the roll out of 5G. It will look at how Europe is striving to maintain its global leadership position on cybersecurity, and at work that is being done with partners on an international level to secure the global supply chain.
Deployment of 5G standalone has to date in Europe been a little slower than expected. This thinking point will explore the situation regarding rollout of 5G standalone in China, one of few places in the world who have deployed 5G standalone networks to date. What have their experiences been, and what results have been seen?
5G network rollout are in full swing with in Europe and elsewhere around the world. As we have just seen however, initial network deployments do not use all the capabilities currently defined for 5G. Building on the last session which explored the next step in the 5G journey of 5G standalone, this session will now take things one step further and explore the path towards 6G. It will look at the early expectations and visions for 6G and how it will differ from 5G; as well as the work that is being done to define technical requirements and standards. It will also look at the potential that 6G has to help to contribute to key policy goals and targets around sustainability, and the work that needs to be done to deliver on this.
Across Europe and elsewhere around the world, regulators are putting plans in place to deliver the required connectivity to vertical industries in order to enable them to take advantage the benefits of 5G. Significant divergence in is being seen across Europe, with a number of different models being brought in to allocate spectrum directly to vertical users rather than to mobile operators. This session will explore the impact that these divergent approaches that are being seen might have, and at whether there is a need to look at intervention at a European level to deliver a more co-ordinated approach. Furthermore, it will explore the extent to which this apparent trend towards the use of regulatory intervention to meet the connectivity needs of vertical sectors is necessary. For example, Telenor and Telia were awarded licences in a recent Danish auction, that came with an obligation to make spectrum available for private networks; whilst two other operators, TDC and Three, are both deploying private 5G networks in the country on purely commercial terms. Where is the balance between the use of regulatory intervention and market forces to deliver the required vertical connectivity for 5G?
Mid-band has been critical for 5G rollout to date both in Europe and around the rest of the world. Whilst a large amount of spectrum has now been made available in the 3.5GHz band (and in some cases elsewhere), a recent GSMA study claimed that this is only the start and in order to meet future needs for 5G, an additional 2GHz of mid-band spectrum will be required by 2030. This session will look at the extent to which this figure is a realistic estimate of what is actually required, and at the different bands and options that are available in order to meet these growing needs. Specific focus will be given to the parts of the C-band not yet allocated to 5G (3.3GHz – 3.4GHz and the 3.6GHz – 3.8 GHz), 4.8 GHz, 6 GHz and 10 GHz ranges, all of which will be considered at WRC-23. How can the need for additional bandwidth for 5G be balanced with the needs of other key users across the mid-band frequencies – satellite, WiFi and more?
The way in which connectivity is provided today is very different to how it was delivered ten years ago. And similarly, as the journey towards the next phase of future wireless connectivity continues, it can be expected that the connectivity ecosystem in 2030 will be very different to that which we see today. With the demand for connectivity set to increase at an exponential rate and wireless communication set to become more and more vital for all aspects of daily lives, connectivity technologies, systems and regulatory frameworks will all need to evolve in order to keep pace. This session focus on what this evolution of the connectivity landscape will look like, and at what needs to be done to ensure that the power of wireless can continue to push our world forward. Focus will be given to new technologies that are emerging; at innovative new ways of finding the bandwidth to enable these; and at the possibility of collaborative new business models.