The times when telecom was telecom are long times passed. It is not about people talking, it is about our societies and economies walking with a lead into the future.
Mobile telephony has developed into the creation of a truly intelligent society where information is not only about knowledge transmitted between people but information online provided for our common knowledge, our health, traffic security, vehicles, industrial processes, smart grids, content of our fridges, advanced agriculture, education, moving rural areas into the centres of decisions.
If we had lagged behind regarding the telecom industry and global champions, which we didn’t, that would have been an industrial problem.
If we today lag behind regarding the development of the digital sector, which we do, it is a problem for the competitiveness of our economies.
If we in the next coming years will be late regarding the connectedness of everything we will lag behind in everything, regarding competitiveness, new industries, new business and new services as well as productivity.
This is why the launch of the fifth generation of mobile telephony – because this is about the next step and the connectedness of everything – is so crucial for Europe. We need to be in the lead. It is about our recovery, about social Europe, about a prosperous and competitive single market, about educated and included people and about the new jobs.
We need to take the lead as we once did with mobile telephony and what was called 3G. That gave us global champions as Siemens, Nokia, Vodaphone and Ericsson, just to mention a few. It gave us clusters of entrepreneurial development. But we never got in the next wave the European Googles, Yahoos, Apples and all those companies, rapid growing and transforming economies.
Now it is about our car industries, our banks, our chemical industries, our energy efficiency, advances systems for transports and distribution, energy production, smart grids, building industries, houses, productivity in our steel industries as well as in paper, pulp or mining. 5G will define the competitiveness and the levels of innovation in our whole economy.
This is why it is so important to get decisions on an early launch of the 700 MHz band in place, as soon as possible, because it will be crucial for 5G on the roads, in rural areas and connecting everything that is on distance or need the reach through buildings. To lag behind here means letting 5G in Europe lag behind from the beginning.
Today, 2016, the Commission needs to be clear on how the launch of 5G is to be facilitated and supported by European legislation and action. In US, in South-Korea, Japan and China they all aim for full scales launches 2020. We must be there at the same time, better prepared and more on the edge. We must stop talking and start walking.