“5G: Can Europe Match the US and China on Mobile Networks?”

(Nic Fildes, Financial Times, 27 January 2019)

"We have no time and no parcel of energy to lose (…). The technological revolution will not wait for us and global competition for achieving digital leadership is fierce”. Mariya Gabriel

European Digital Economy Commissioner."

The fifth generation of mobile communications (5G) powers the Internet of Things, reducing the time of the signals exchange between the object and the network. In Europe, 5G promises to revitalize its telecommunication companies’ (TCs) stock market, reducing the cost of delivering information and raising the networks capacity. According to Bloomberg,  in 2012-2018, the value of telecoms companies was cut in half in Europe (from $234 billion to $133 billion), rose by 71% to $532 billion in the USA, and grew by 13% to $561 billion in Asia. Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom's CEO: “We need a superior infrastructure, but I see we are falling behind.Mariya Gabriel persuades TCs to invest in 5G: it should be launched in Europe by 2020 and will cost €500 billion. Large European TCs doubt if they could monetise 5G while the governments are anxious about security and regulation. So 5G has been turned into a political battleground: the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the US have blocked Chinese suppliers, including Huawei, from the construction of 5G networks on security grounds. According to Paul Lee, head of telecoms research at Deloitte, China has the biggest mobile internet audience, ready for high-tech 5G services, which are to be launched by 2020. While Europe remains sceptical, China, Japan, and the USA have advanced 5G plans. US company  AT&T is even criticised for exaggerating its 5G. Atanas Dobrev, CEO of Vivacom, Bulgaria: “If we believe the future is tech and digital and we don’t invest in that, do you really think we will remain the best place to live?

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