With Europe playing catch up on 5G, now is the time for the continent’s top players to build 5G use cases, according to a string of industry experts

Finnish tech giant, Nokia, has secured €500 million of funding from the European Investment Bank, to fast track the development of key 5G infrastructure. 

Nokia will pour the cash into a number of research and development initiatives aimed at accelerating 5G rollout across Europe. 

"We are pleased to land this financing commitment from the EIB, who shares our view of the revolutionary nature of 5G – and the realisation that this revolution is already underway. This financing bolsters our 5G research efforts and continues the broader momentum we have already seen this year in terms of customer wins and development firsts, supporting our relentless drive to be a true leader in 5G – end-to-end," said Nokia CFO, Kristian Pullola.

Europe has lagged behind on 5G, with large scale rollout not expected until 2020-2021. Telcos in North America and Asia Pacific are looking to rollout next generation mobile networks as early as Q4 2018, highlighting the technological rift that has grown between Europe and its neighbours. Some industry experts have taken the EIB’s decision to invest in 5G on a large scale as proof that Europe is finally starting to catch up.  

“The US, China and South Korea have invested early and heavily to try and establish a leadership position in the ‘5G race’. This investment from the EIB is a crucial show of 5G support in Europe, and a demonstration of the region’s commitment to developing next generation networks. Sustained backing from private, public and governmental bodies is essential to ensuring that Europe continues to be a major player in cellular communications," said Li-Ke Huang, VP of Wireless Technology, VIAVI Solutions.

Ultimately, large scale 5G rollout will be driven by the formation of commercial use cases by the industry’s key players.  Huang believes that the onus is on vendors and operators in the telecoms sector to build these use cases quickly. 

“In order to be granted enough spectrum and gain the necessary support from regulators and governments, operators and vendors in Europe need to demonstrate that 5G development can solving existing problems in today’s networks. They must also show how 5G can support a vast range of new business cases, from smart cities and automotive to connected healthcare and industrial IoT.

“Europe is in a strong position to drive 5G development due to the strength of its mobile ecosystem. As well as being home to two major vendors – Nokia and Ericsson – it is supported by a deep pool of knowledge enriched by governments, universities, consultancies, R&D specialists and the wider supply chain. Continued financial investment, along with collaboration and knowledge sharing will help promote 5G development across the continent,” he added.

Also in the news: 

Nokia reveals licensing fees for 5G IP

Nokia signs €3.5bn 5G deal with T-Mobile

Nokia: The 5G race is on