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MWC: Neelie Kroes pushes hard for 5G in Europe

EC has stumped up €50m for even faster mobile networks
Wed Feb 27 2013, 13:51
Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes

EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) Digital Agenda VP Neelie Kroes talked up the concept of a single telecoms market across Europe and 5G networks at MWC, which she said will improve connectivity and help unite the region.

Kroes was speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain when she said that the present system is a jumble that needs sorting and that the 27 European Union (EU) nations need to start pulling together.

The title of Kroes' talk was "Smashing barriers and thinking big". During it Kroes spoke about the possibilities of a united telecoms system and framework. She said that telecoms operators that have been leaders in wireless are facing "a kaleidoscope of different rules and practices across the EU".

"We have rocketing demands from users. Recent growth in mobile data could continue, climbing 66 percent each year - as we move to 4G, the cloud, and the 'internet of things', with mobile devices soon outnumbering people," she added.

"And we have an economic imperative. Europe used to lead the world in wireless: we invented the GSM standard, we once dominated devices. Yet now we are falling behind. Overtaken to the east and the west. We urgently need to catch up. To reclaim a strong wireless industry. To cement a strong economy. And to give people the technological tools to access and create opportunity."

Part of all this will be 5G or, as she has it, "[a] future ubiquitous ultra-high bandwidth communication infrastructure". Kroes wants to see a 5G high speed system up and running by the start of 2020. She warned that work is progressing overseas on this, and asked her audience if they wanted to be left behind.

"We can no longer stick to legacy systems, 20th century needs, historically allocated powers. We must focus on our goal, on the digital imperative, and do what's needed to deliver it," she added.

"As the problems you face are varied - so must our solutions be subtle and targeted... Where there are innovative opportunities, we must ourselves innovate to seize them... European 5G is an unmissable opportunity to recapture the global technological lead. And I hope you will be able to support and join us."

Kroes said that the EC has allocated €50m in extra funding for 5G work. µ


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