5G to be available across Europe by 2020

15 Dec 2016

The EU is hoping that being first out of the blocks with 5G will make Europe an innovation leader. Image: Prasit Rodphan/Shutterstock

EU member states have agreed to make the 700MHz band available for 5G wireless broadband by 2020.

Last night, EU Parliament and Council negotiators agreed informally to pave the way for 5G to arrive across Europe.

The logic is that releasing the 700MHz band for internet use would create an efficient digital single market and make the EU an innovation leader.

‘This proposal will give operators a chance to deploy 5G in a rapid and timely way’

TV broadcasting services, currently the main users of the 700MHz band, will be moved out of it but will retain priority in the sub-700 MHz band until at least 2030.

Will 5G boost the European economy?

“The agreement reached will of course help to boost the European economy,” said rapporteur Patrizia Toia

“With this proposal, European institutions guarantee a fair and efficient use for spectrum in order to address the needs of both mobile and broadcasting services.

“High-quality mobile internet for everything and for everyone, everywhere, will only be possible through modern rules and infrastructure.

“This proposal will give operators a chance to deploy 5G in a rapid and timely way. The efficient use of the radio spectrum is vital for the connected world in which we live,” Toia said.

The EU said that the 700MHz band would enable the provision of high-quality mobile services, such as e-health and m-health, or those related to the internet of things.

In the talks, MEPs included a clause in the agreed text obliging member states to make sure that the costs related to the migration and reallocation of the spectrum are promptly compensated, especially to consumers.

“However, the 2020 deadline can be extended for two years by individual member states for duly justified reasons,” said Toia.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years