Estonia’s Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology says that 5G is essential to safeguard Europe’s future as a key hub for international business

EU ministers have agreed a roadmap for the roll out of 5G technology across Europe. The roadmap will provide consensus over the harmonisation of 5G spectrum bands and how they will be allocated to operators across Europe.

During a high profile meeting in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, representatives from the EU’s member states laid out plans to roll out 5G networks across Europe by 2025.  

"By the year 2025, we want to see the presence of 5G connectivity in large cities and along major transport routes of every European country. These 5G networks are needed both for citizens and the devices that require reliable and high-speed internet access to cope with increasingly large quantities of data," said Urve Palo, Estonian Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.

Palo said that 5G was a crucial step in safeguarding the economies of Europe over the next decade.

"It is no secret that a digital Europe is a priority for us, however, a digital society cannot be created without 5G networks," she said.

"5G is essential to ensuring communication in the future, with billions of devices online needing to be connected at all times and regardless of location, 5G technology is able to provide users with more data volumes and guaranteed quality connections," she added.

While EU Ministers are united in the need for the 5G roadmap, some analysts and industry professionals are questioning whether enough is being done to ensure Europe devotes adequate resources to the implementation of 5G.

In an exclusive interview with Total Telecom last week (conducted before the EU’s 5G roadmap was announced),  Ericsson’s senior vice president and head of business services, Ulf Ewaldsson, said that Europe was in danger of being left behind in 5G technology development and implementation.

"One issue that we have is that Europe is not very 5G orientated. People are asking "what is the business case for it?" Whereas in the US they are ready to go, the whole industry is moving. This is also true in Asia – the whole industry is moving [towards 5G]. I’m a little bit worried about European technology leadership here," he said.