• Telecoms

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    EU and the 700 MHz: Open up that band now

    If we do not open up this band in Europe as soon as possible we will not be able to get the benefits from 5G. Europe lagged and lag behind regarding 4G but took the lead of 3G. Now we need to take back the lead. One of the most usual and most misused [read more]
    byGunnar Hökmark | 20/Apr/20165 min read
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    If we do not open up this band in Europe as soon as possible we will not be able to get the benefits from 5G. Europe lagged and lag behind regarding 4G but took the lead of 3G. Now we need to take back the lead.

    One of the most usual and most misused phrasings is that we are living in changing times. Times are always changing. New technologies, new products, new services, new threats and new achievements. The really big change would be if the change stopped.
     
    Sometimes changing times is used in a way to create fascination towards the development, making us believe that now we need to do something that is so extraordinary that we need to think at least twice instead of acting now, or instead of letting the society as such adopt to the change.
     
    But for our decision taking it is better to say that the change has already taken place. Now it is only a matter of if we want to catch up with it. This is very much the reality of the digital economy and the digital agenda. The changes has already taken place and now it is up to us if we are to adopt to them in a way that they will serve us, give us a competitive lead and global leaders. The reality is here, we don’t need to think about the changes as magic or mysterious future developments.
     
    Regarding telecom and digitalisation, it is already here. We do not only have a digital sector and a digital economy. Our societies and economies are based on the digital technologies and services that have emerged for decades.
     
    3G was modernisation of telecom. 4G was creating digital services out of telecom. 5G is the full modernisation, industrialisation and transformation of economies and societies in the world. And it is not futuristic. It is happening now in the timeline that is relevant for us.
     
    In 2017 Verizon tells us they will be the first in the world. It might be more of 4,5 G but still. South Korea plans to roll it out as early as 2017 as well, with full availability 2020.
    In China they will have 500 million users of 4G by the end of this year and their plans for 5G is following the pattern of the others. In Stockholm and in Tallinn we will se early launches aiming for full scale 2020. It is not more fare away than it is happening now and it will transform economies.
     
    We lagged and lag behind regarding 4G but took the lead of 3G. That’s why we got the global champions in the telecom sector and the Americans in the next phase in the digital sector. Now we need to take back the lead.
     
    This is what the discussion on the 700MHz band is about. If we do not open up this band in Europe as soon as possible we will not be able to get the benefits from 5G regarding automotive industry, road and traffic management, manufacturing industries, energy and power sector, agriculture or health care. We need the coverage and the reach of the 700 MHz band if we are to be successful with 5G in these and other areas. That’s the decision we need to take. If we want to take the lead. That should be an easy decision.

     

    Picture credit: phys.org
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  • Telecoms

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    3G was modernisation, 4G was and is digitalisation, 5G is industrialisation

    3G changed the telecom markets and paved the way for new services. 4G changed the logic of telecom into the information society. 5G will mean a change in both the structures and the nature of our industries and economies. The introduction of 3G was a hug [read more]
    byGunnar Hökmark | 17/Feb/20165 min read
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    3G changed the telecom markets and paved the way for new services. 4G changed the logic of telecom into the information society. 5G will mean a change in both the structures and the nature of our industries and economies.

    The introduction of 3G was a huge modernisation. It was a revolution for mobile telecom and gave Europe the lead. Mobile telephony was suddenly a popular phenomenon, creating new opportunities and new accessibility. Today there are more mobile phone subscriptions in the world than human beings. It has created universal connectivity. Europe was in the lead of this development but lost it.

    4G is digitalisation. Old services in new structures and new services that we couldn’t foresee. New devices such as tablets and smartphones are a function of these new information technologies and the Internet is becoming a base for most sectors and industries of our societies.

    This development is crucial for the competitiveness of our economies. And Europe is lagging behind in the deployment of 4G. Other parts of the world – such as the US, Japan, South Korea – are as much as four times more rapid in developing the use of mobile broadband.

    5G will be crucial because it is the full industrialisation. It will be transformational for everything from the transport sector to the car industry as well as health industry, entertainment and media and it will change the structures of production as well as the criteria for productivity and marketing.

    In order to take the lead in the digital economy we need to do a lot.

    What we today call cyber security must be the security and defence of our economies, production and supply chains as well as for the credibility of banking and trade and for the protection of our private lives.

    Data protection and cyber security must go hand in hand with the development of new services and be based upon our own actions.

    Regulations and legislation must be technology neutral. The European Union must adapt its legislation regarding IPR, services, copyrights, VAT and sales legislation to the 21st century rather than keeping those of the last. All this is complicated but it must be done.

    It will be much easier if we decide to take a decisive step and take the lead in launching and deploying the nets of 5G. Europe should be in the lead, in a harmonised action where the leading Member states must be the template and where the aim must be to make the European Union the leading 5G economy of the world.

    It will require much more competition between different actors, European markets and trans-European nets, by coordination, harmonisation or by market development. It will require the combination of economy of scale integrated in competition over the borders.

    The release and the coordination of the 700MHz band – now finally proposed by Commission – will be a crucial and formative first step in order to live up to these challenges.

    When we will have the lead in 5G and the best capacities, the momentum and magnitude of change will help us with the reforms needed to take the full benefit of the digital industrialisations that we now are up to.

    To take the lead on 5G is one of the few single issues where we can take explicit decisions, not only define goals and targets, that will bring back growth, leadership, innovations and competitiveness for the European economy.

    The Commission must be tough and forward looking and so must the European Parliament, in order to convince hesitant Member states that Europe means more in the digital era than ever.

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