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Europe at ‘crunch point’ ahead of 5G transition

European Commission vice-president, Andrus Ansip

European Commission vice-president, Andrus Ansip

Europe is at a ‘crunch point’ when it comes to telecoms, with the planned move to 5G set to transform how people live, work, play and communicate.

This is according to Andrus Ansip, European Commission’s vice-president for the digital single market, commenting ahead of his speech at next week’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.

In a blog post, Ansip stressed the importance of 5G and reiterated the European Commission’s plan to have uninterrupted 5G available in the EU across all urban areas as well as major roads and railways by 2025.

“I spoke last year at the Mobile World Congress about mobile as the foundation for digital identity. This year, I will be talking about 5G networks and the 5G economy. However, since Europe is now at something of a ‘crunch point’ with telecoms, I want to use the occasion to make some other points as well.”

Ansip claimed that 5G is no longer “just about communicating or making a phone call”. The majority of Europeans now use the internet to buy products and services and do their banking, and there is huge demand for smartphones and tablets.

He added that high-performance connectivity is also required for digital consumer services, industry digitisation and big data, with some 50 billion Internet of Things devices due to be connected worldwide in the next 10 years.

“As a basic IoT requirement, we need a new generation of networks and infrastructure. That means 5G, for which we have to be ready very soon.

“I will be talking about many other aspects of 5G at the MWC – the issue of setting global standards, for one. That is not an easy issue, technically or politically.”