Press Release

Today, Plum Consulting, launched a report that calls for European governments and regulators to prioritize the supply of 26GHz spectrum to accelerate the much-needed rollout of 5G services across the European region and to enable its full potential. Commissioned by Qualcomm Technologies Inc., and Nokia the report finds that incentivising innovation by ensuring mmWave spectrum availability will provide an important basis for economic growth over the next decade.

5G is predicted to provide benefits to consumers, transform industry and generate extensive economic value. The GSMA estimates that 5G is expected to yield $2.2 trillion in GDP between 2020-2034. mmWave applications will make up an increasing proportion of the overall 5G contribution to global GDP, achieving around 25% of the cumulative total by 2034, which amounts to $565 billion in GDP .
Plum Consulting research shows that 5G services based on mmWave will be deployable quickly and effectively once more spectrum is made available. The consultancy is recommending national regulatory authorities to stimulate the market by making available 26 GHz spectrum with the right licensing conditions to Mobile Network Operators and for private industrial use.

Recommendations in the report from Plum Consulting include removing the barriers of entry to promote the use of 26GHz, including lowering its cost compared to other mobile bands, implementing tax incentives, tax deductions or special depreciation schedules for investments by MNOs and private network developers and including the use of award mechanisms that seek to encourage investment.
mmWave has a short range but supports very high bandwidths and low latency. It is ideal where a cell radios of 500 metres or less is sufficient and the smaller physical size of network equipment provides advantages for site acquisition and deployments and indoor use.

Demand for mmWave trials and projects are increasing and there are already a number of experiments, commercial operations planned or live across Europe. This includes a 26GHz trial at Rennes train station in France to improve both services for the public and supporting train maintenance and repairs. In the UK Qualcomm Technologies will be supplying high frequency mmWave modules to test the efficacy in agritech for 5G connected robotic farming. Commercial deployment of 5G mmWave for FWA has also started in Italy since December 2020 in 50 cities and targeting 500 by the end of 2021.

On the industrial front, a 26GHz trial in Le Havre seaport in France is working with smart grids management, electric vehicle charging, port logistics, container machinery operation, mobility analysis and more. 26GHz trials for a range of commercial uses have also taken place in a number of locations in France, Germany, Finland, UK, Romania, Sweden and several other countries. The number of mmWave devices is expected to grow significantly over the next 12 months.

Tony Lavender, Managing Partner from Plum Consulting says: “Mobile communication has contributed significantly to economic and social progress in Europe and other parts of the world. The features supported by 5G will enable new devices, applications and business models. However, delivery of the full benefits of 5G for consumers, industry and enterprise sectors requires access to mmWave spectrum. It is therefore important that national regulators consult on and define and implement the most appropriate regulatory framework, including spectrum sharing, as a priority to unleash the full potential of the 26GHz band.”

Wassim Chourbaji, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs EMEA, Qualcomm Communications S.A.R.L., commented: “5G mmWave has the potential to be the catalyst to revolutionise ultra-fast connectivity to all – be it consumers, enterprise, auto, factories, agriculture, and more. It has the potential, with Fixed Wireless Access, to finally bridge the digital divide, which has become particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Putting a comprehensive framework in place by national regulators to make 26GHz available is urgently required. It will form the basis of economic recovery and digital transformation.”

Jan van Tetering, Senior Vice President, Head of Europe, Nokia: “5G mmWave holds the key to unlocking a new category of user experience in dense urban areas as well as new, value-creating use cases across various industries. Nokia’s latest AirScale product portfolio delivers the performance associated with 5G, providing high-capacity, super-fast connectivity. Europe must act quickly in order to close the gap to other geographies where the technology is already being deployed.”