The 2023 edition of The European 5G Conference will take place on 13-14 March at the BluePoint, Brussels. Now in its 7th year, the conference has an established reputation as Brussels’ leading meeting place for discussion on 5G policy.
The rollout of 5G in Europe is gathering pace, with more than 100 5G networks now having launched across 34 markets. As we continue to edge forward towards the target of 5G deployment in all populated areas by 2030, and with ‘5G Advanced’ and the next chapter of 5G development on the horizon, this conference will look at how stakeholders can come together to tackle the challenges, embrace the opportunities, and ensure that 5G changes Europe for the better.
With a return to an in-person format, the event will once again provide the opportunity to hear from high-level policymakers and industry stakeholders on key themes such as investment, security, sustainability, emerging business models and connectivity. Looking back at the lessons learnt to date, and forward to the path towards 5G Advanced and 6G, the event will provide a comprehensive insight into all the key policy aspects that are shaping the 5G ecosystem in Europe.
Join in on the discussions and register your place today with early bird rates.
Where are we? Progress in 5G network rollout & expansion
Securing Europe’s 5G Networks and Architecture
Finding a fair and sustainable approach to finance 5G ecosystem
Harnessing 5G to help achieve Europe’s climate targets
Towards 5G Advanced and the evolution towards 6G
WRC-23 and 5G – what should be Europe’s aspirations and how can these be achieved?
Spectrum sharing and licencing in the 5G era - mid-band, mmWave and other key frequencies
Please note, this is an outline agenda and will be updated shortly – please check back for updates.
All times listed are in local Brussels time (CET).
One of the key aims of the European Commission’s ‘Path to the Digital Decade’ targets was to deploy 5G in all populated areas by 2030. Member states are working hard to deliver on this target and continuing both allocation of key 5G spectrum bands and rollout of networks. However, progress in some areas remains slow, with the situation not being helped by wider societal challenges such as rising energy costs and the cost-of-living crisis affecting sales of smartphones. June this year will see the release of the first annual ‘State of the Digital Decade’ report, which will provide an opportunity to look at the progress being made and the extent to which member states are on track. This session will take stock of the current situation around Europe and at the progress that has been made. It will look at the challenges and obstacles that remain, and at how policymakers and industry representatives need to come together to ensure that these are overcome.
Through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), Connecting Europe Facility Digital programme (CEF Digital) and other investment mechanisms, Europe is making an unprecedented level of public financing available in order to help drive forward the development of network infrastructures and boost 5G network rollout. Despite this, Europe still faces an investment gap in both private and public funding when compared to other regions. And with construction and energy costs related to the deployment of networks spiralling, telecom operators across Europe are stating that there is an urgent need for additional funding to deliver and maintain a long-term sustainable 5G ecosystem. They argue that part of this financial burden should be met by BigTech firms, who contribute a large proportion of the internet traffic that is seen. With a European Commission consultation around this issue scheduled for early 2023, this session will examine the arguments for and against this ‘fair contribution’ debate, and also focus on funding elements more broadly to explore the work that is being done to deliver the necessary public and private funding for 5G, and ultimately the best and fairest way forward to fund 5G and Europe’s digital future.
At the recent COP27 Summit, Frans Timmermans announced that Europe is raising its 2030 target of reducing gas emissions from 55% to 57%. With a recent study claiming that at least 40 percent of the bloc’s carbon reduction solutions will rely on fixed-line and mobile connectivity, 5G is set to play a crucial role in hitting these targets. From smart cities and optimized buildings to streamlined transport networks, real-time monitoring and energy management systems to increased efficiency of inventory stocks and manufacturing – if harnessed in the right way then 5G offers the potential to enable organizations and communities everywhere to reduce our carbon footprint and move towards a more sustainable economy. At the same time however, rollout of 5G networks will also require millions of new cell antennas and billions of new devices, which initially has the potential to actually increase energy consumption and contribute to the climate change problem. This session will explore the impact of 5G on climate change from both angles. It will look at the work that is being done to mitigate the impact of 5G rollout on the environment; and crucially, explore the potential that 5G and the new use cases that it will enable can help play a role in helping Europe in meeting ambitious national and EU-wide 2030 goals for decarbonization.
5G Advanced is seen as the next major chapter of 5G development and is expected to deliver a whole new wave of new solutions and technology components. Amongst other things, it is expected to significantly improve the ways in which 5G can support AI and machine learning, which in turn has the potential to lead to more intelligent network management and improved performance of complicated, multi-antenna systems. This session will look at the differences that the emergence of 5G Advanced and AI-powered networks could make, the new features and enhancements that could emerge and the likely timeframe for this both in Europe and elsewhere.
From the identification of early visions and technical goals through to eventual commercial deployment, the development of any new generation in wireless technology is broadly thought to have a 10 year cycle process. The path towards 5G in Europe can be said to have begun in 2012 with the launch of Project METIS – a multi stakeholder initiative, formed with the objective of laying the foundation of 5G. Now, just over a decade on and with 5G an established commercial reality, this interactive session will offer the opportunity to look back on the different phases of the 5G ‘cycle’, to discuss the successes and the failures, and as we move forward, look at the lessons that can be learnt.
Telecom companies have invested heavily to roll out 5G services in countries across Europe, and there is now increasing pressure on them to explore new service offerings and business models in order to start seeing a return on these investments. At the same time, 5G is seeing the emergence of innovative new market entrants and shifting dynamics in the relationships between key industry players. Against this backdrop, this session will examine how traditional telco business models and the overall connectivity landscape is evolving in a 5G world. It will examine the changes that 5G is bringing to both the telecom ecosystem, and also to the way in which connectivity providers are interacting with both their customers and other technology providers. It will look at the opportunities that 5G offers for telecom and technology companies, and the best and fairest way forward in order to ensure the emergence of a long-term sustainable ecosystem that delivers economic value for them all.
WRC-23 will see decisions made on a number of bands that are seen as hugely important for the evolution of 5G and beyond. The final conference preparatory meeting (CPM23-2) is due to take place just a few weeks following this conference, with WRC-23 itself now less than a year away. Europe, as well as the rest of the world, are moving towards their final preparations – the final opinion from RSPG was agreed at the end of 2022 and is now with the European Commission as it looks to finalise its proposal for a Council decision which will feed CEPT European common proposals to be adopted in May or September 2023. This session will take stock on the key agenda items related to spectrum for 5G and look at the positions that are emerging. It will discuss what Europe should be aiming for in terms of its key aims and objectives, and discuss the best way forward in order to ensure a successful WRC that meets the growing connectivity needs of 5G and other related technologies.
As we have moved beyond the initial launch phase of 5G, mid-band frequencies have become the main focus of the mobile industry when it comes to identifying additional spectrum that they say is now required for 5G growth in urban areas. A recent GSMA report stated that an average of 2GHz of mid-band spectrum is required to meet the needs of 5G, identifying the 3.5 GHz, 4.8 GHz and 6 GHz frequencies as providing options to deliver this. At the same time however, spectrum in the mid-band ranges is seen as essential for key users such as satellite and military, and for the delivery and expansion of WiFi. This session will look at how much additional spectrum in the mid-band frequencies is actually needed for the growth and evolution of 5G, and at the extent to which the need for the identification of new spectrum can be offset by refarming or increasing efficiency in existing bands. Ultimately, it will discuss the long-term balance that we should be looking to deliver in mid-band frequencies between 5G and other users, and at how the needs of all key users can be met.
The high capacity and ultrafast speeds of mmWave spectrum meant that it was initially seen as a critical part of the spectrum mix for 5G. Technical propagation challenges however have meant that the interest in these high frequency bands is not at the level that was initially expected – the 26GHz band was one of the EU’s initial ‘pioneer’ bands for 5G, but many member states have still not yet licenced spectrum in the band or made it available. This has raised the question of whether regulators should be considering alternative licencing approaches when allocating spectrum in the mmWave frequencies, and whether the option of lightly licensed or unlicensed models might be an approach that kick-starts interest and allows for a broader range of 5G business cases. One new approach that is being proposed is in the UK where Ofcom have recently held a consultation in which they propose a split approach to authorising mmWave spectrum, offering auctioned citywide mobile licences only in major cities and making local spectrum licences available on a first come, first served basis everywhere else. Against this backdrop, this session will explore whether there is a need for a more flexible approach to licencing spectrum in the mmWave frequencies, and at the potential impact this may have both for 5G rollout in the bands and also on other key users.
Launched in 2016, and now in its seventh year, the European 5G Conference has previously taken place in Brussels, as well as virtual editions in 2021 & 2022. We look forward to welcoming delegates to join us in Brussels for the return of an in-person format in 2023.
Taking place virtually in January 2022, the sixth edition of the event welcomed over 1000 key stakeholders and policy makers to our online events platform, to discuss key topical issues related to the rollout of 5G.
You can view more details of the 2022 edition of this event here.
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This event will take place fully in person. There will be no virtual component to this year’s edition.
There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions in place in Belgium, however Forum Europe will continue to closely monitor the public health situation.
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