Europe will make 5G spectrum available by 2020

On last Thursday evening, the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission reached a provisional political agreement about the availability of radio spectrum for 5G by 2020 in the EU.

According to the European Commission, the provisional agreement will prepare the ground for 5G network deployment across the EU, taking into account the previous agreements on the setting of radio spectrum fees, on eliminating cross-border interference and on deploying the small cells more easily.

“We are laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G across Europe. It is vital because many applications, from connected vehicles to smart cities and telemedicine, will not happen without first-class connectivity. Let’s now agree as soon as possible on other elements of the new EU telecoms rules that we proposed,” said Andrus Ansip, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “The EU is ready to lead on 5G deployment. With this political agreement, co-legislators set in stone the roadmap on spectrum for 5G that we put forward last October and which paves the way for the 5G gigabit society envisioned by the Commission in 2025. It is time to deliver. This can happen only if telecom, vertical industries and public authorities agree to join efforts and go in the same direction.”

The negotiations on other parts of the European Electronic Communications Code are ongoing. The goal of the co-legislators is to find an agreement under the Bulgarian Presidency.

Milestones for 5G

  • Mid 2018 New European Electronic Communications Code adopted and increased spectrum coordination;
  • 2019 Technical harmonization of the spectrum bands 3.6 GHz (for connected car corridors) and 26 GHz (for enhanced, dense wireless broadband);
  • Mid 2020 Code transposed in national law, which includes binding time limit for making spectrum available, peer review, longer licence duration, etc;
  • 2020 700 MHz band assigned in most Member States, 5G in one city per Member State;
  • 2020-2022 All Member States assign the 700 MHz band. Other 5G bands (3.6 GHz and 26 GHz) should also be subject to binding assignment deadline;
  • 2020-2025 Roll-out of 5G infrastructure;
  • 2025 Gigabit Society (5G in major cities and along major transport routes);