The EU has gone on the warpath over the lack of 4G services available in Europe, with governments taking the flak for failing to push ahead with rollouts after 14 nations were forced to ask for deadlines to implement services.
Vice president for the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, made her frustration clear over the state of 4G availability in Europe, claiming that three out of four people cannot access the services, compared with 90 percent availability in the US.
Kroes said the problem is personally frustrating. “I’m on the side of the citizens, the taxpayers, the voters, who just want their phones and tablets to work. It’s frustrating when my phone stops working in Brussels because we only have 3G. Millions share my frustration every day.”
The EU also pointed out several facts to prove how far behind the continent is to other parts of the globe:
- Three EU Member States have no 4G at all – Cyprus, Ireland, Malta
- Only Germany, Estonia and Sweden have advanced rollout of 4G
- There is virtually no 4G coverage in rural areas across the EU
- Europe has barely five percent of 4G connections and subscriptions globally
“This is no way to run an economy. It means also that Europeans living in rural areas and those on holiday get treated like second-class citizens,” Kroes added.
Really upping the ante, Kroes painted a doom-and-gloom scenario where the failure to meet the demands of mobile traffic would have serious consequences.
"The EU is teetering on the edge of network collapse. Global mobile traffic is predicted to grow by 66 percent a year, smart devices are everywhere and people want to watch video on those devices. Without more spectrum being made available the whole thing falls apart."
Kroes was also quick to point out that nations cannot blame the EU for not helping them, pointing to the work she has led to free up more spectrum for mobile data traffic as evidence there is plenty being done to help nations, even if they are not taking advantage of this work.
In the UK EE has been pushing ahead with the rollout of 4G, reaching 60 percent of the UK and signing up 687,000 customers, while Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has signed up for the technology to boost its mobile working practices.
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