A consortium of EU telecoms operators including BT, Ericsson, Vodafone and Nokia has signed a manifesto promising to collaborate on the development of 5G networks to ensure their full potential.
The document, signed by 17 CEOs from major telecoms operators, makes a number of key promises, most notably that 5G coverage will be available across the EU by 2020.
“In order to help make this new ecosystem a reality, European operators will target launching 5G in at least one city in each of the 28 European member states by 2020,” the document said.
The operators will also work with various sectors, such as healthcare and transport, to see that 'slices' of 5G are made available for dedicated requirements.
"A fundamental enhancement brought by 5G is the possibility to deliver virtual 'network slices' offering different capabilities according to specialised needs. 5G network slices are meant to run on shared infrastructure without deteriorating the agreed levels of service," said the firms.
"5G can therefore facilitate connectivity, network access and service security in different vertical sectors and be instrumental in the management and automation of business assets and processes."
However, the manifesto contains a warning that such an ambition may be hampered by current net neutrality guidelines put forward by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.
“The telecoms industry warns that the current net neutrality guidelines create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment,” it said.
“Investments are therefore likely to be delayed unless regulators take a positive stance on innovation and stick to it.”
The operators also call for improvements to the rules governing deployments, calling for greater simplicity.
“Achieving a dense deployment of 5G infrastructure requires greater harmonisation and simplification of rules and the removal of deployment barriers,” they said.
This includes right of way for the installation of passive facilities, supportive municipal site rental charges, removal of taxation on sites and antennas, and predictable, harmonised electromagnetic field emissions limits.
The other signatories to the manifesto are Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa Europe, Inmarsat, Orange, Proximus, Royal KPN, SES, Tele2, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor Group and Telia Company.
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