Fifth-generation mobile network technology, widely known as 5G, aims to lower latency and massively increase band capacity compared to the current 4G standard. Because of the potential use of the technology to improve mobile connections and meet the needs of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, companies and governments all around the world are increasingly investing in its development.
For example, Japan and the city of London have both stated their plans to deploy 5G networks by 2020. While, for the amusement of internet users, UK researchers have achieved wireless speeds of up to 1Tbps using 5G networks back in 2015.
But because 5G is still under development, its regulation is also still open for discussion. And this will be the subject of this week's European Union Informal Ministerial Meeting, that starts today, July 18.
For that reason, and acknowledging the need for a reform of the European Electronic Communication Code, CEOs of the top European mobile operators have released an open letter to the attendees of the meeting emphasizing their main concerns:
- Clear provisions addressing the predictability of future rights, notably minimum license duration of 25 years coupled with a strong presumption of renewal;
- An effective and efficient peer-review mechanism to spur the sharing of best practice over award design and procedures;
- The ability to compete, innovate and differentiate through voluntary spectrum sharing;
- A fee structure that reflects efficient and effective use of the spectrum as well as coverage commitments.
According to the letter, signed by the CEOs of KPN, Deutsche Telekom, Telenor Group, Telefónica, Telecom Italia, Telekom Austria Group, Vodafone Group, Orange, and Telia Company, a policy reform that takes those points into account "is of the utmost importance" and is for Europe "the opportunity to be amongst global leaders in the development of 5G technology".
Of course, it is also in the interest of the telecoms that regulators guarantee at least 25 years of minimum license duration and "a strong presumption of renewal". The investments being made in the development of the 5G technology is in the order of billions of dollars and its deployment will also cost a lot of money for the telecoms.