5G | Emerging Trends
September 25, 2018

How 5G can boost Nordic and Baltic economies

By ITU News

Mr Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, recently shared his views with ITU News on the importance of the development of 5G systems in the region. His comments come ahead of the 5G Techritory conference, 27-28 September, Riga, Latvia. Read the Q&A below.

What are the challenges and opportunities of 5G deployment in the region?

Technology drives development, and 5G technologies will set new standards for life quality and regional competitiveness in the Nordic and Baltic region — and in Europe as a whole.

The Nordic region is one of the most innovative regions in the world, and in combination with its Baltic neighbors, it can provide the necessary counterbalance at the European level to technology developments in Asia and Silicon Valley.

Regions that are successful in utilizing and realizing the benefits of 5G, while managing risks, will have advantages in international competition and in developing more efficient and relevant public sector activities.

5G offers significant potential for the Nordic and Baltic economies and can strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of our businesses and industries, for instance, in intelligent traffic systems and connected vehicles, smart and sustainable energy grids and connected health services facilitating healthcare innovation.

Regions that are successful in utilizing and realizing the benefits of 5G, while managing risks, will have advantages in international competition and in developing more efficient and relevant public sector activities.

With the high digital maturity of the Nordic and Baltic countries, the Nordic countries have the potential to be at the forefront of that development to become world leaders in using 5G technology for the development and digitalization of all sectors of society.

How will Nordic cooperation help the Baltic countries in this context?

The Nordic governments have high ambitions for digitalizing public service. This plays well with our societies’ digital maturity. Together, the Nordic and Baltic regions can work with each other better and, hence, pave the way for cross-border digitalization of Europe.

The Nordic and Baltic countries already have close transnational digital collaboration in the public and private sector as expressed through policy dialogue and common initiatives on digital innovation.

The Baltic countries are leaders in various areas when it comes to digitalization: For instance, Estonia is famous for its e-governance while Latvia is a gigabyte society, being one of the largest consumers of 4G globally and the frontrunner within the European Union. By engaging the Baltic countries in the setup of the most innovative regional 5G platform, the Nordic cooperation will contribute to realize the potentials of the gigabit society and thereby strengthen the European competitiveness.

What are the future actions of Nordic cooperation in terms of 5G and in information and communication technologies (ICTs)?

The Nordic and Baltic countries share the goal of taking a leading role in the “next leap” for wireless communication, by building on the 2017 Nordic-Baltic Digital North Declaration with a common vision of being the first and most-integrated 5G region in the world.

We need to reduce the uncertainty for the governments and IT and telecom industries by articulating the value of 5G and utilizing the possibilities of 5G across the region.

However, legal barriers, deployment issues and the uncertain investment in very costly infrastructure represent some serious obstacles for the widespread, seamless and cross-border roll-out of 5G.

The Nordic Council of Ministers is in close cooperation with Nordic and Baltic countries preparing a comprehensive action plan for the 5G collaboration.

We need to reduce the uncertainty for the governments and IT and telecom industries by articulating the value of 5G and utilizing the possibilities of 5G across the region

Among the key actions supporting the roll-out and use of 5G technology in the Nordic region are (1) to ensure availability of spectrum for 5G testing (licenses), (2) the coordination of 5G frequency bands and (3) identifying and utilizing synergies between Nordic and Baltic 5G test beds/test environments.

Equally, it is important to address the ethical and legal implications of the rapid digital transformation of our societies and to find the right balance between data innovation and data security.

Based on core values such as transparency, trust and openness, the Nordic and Baltic cooperation will contribute to the development of ethical and transparent guidelines and standards to guide how AI applications should be used. They will be our common contribution to the European discussion on this important issue.

Could cooperation with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) be of interest?

To support the widespread use of technologies based on 5G across different sectors and industries, close involvement of the IT and Telecom industries is of utmost importance.

As a global platform and network with more than 500 leading ICT companies worldwide, ITU is an important organization and partner in the roll-out and testing of 5G in our region, strengthening the link between vertical industries, standardization and research as diverse requirements emerge from different vertical industry use cases.

We are glad to start the dialogue with ITU at the Nordic-Baltic high-level meeting in Riga on September 26th and look forward to a fruitful discussion on 5G with ITU and other important ICT stakeholders in the future.

Dagfinn Høybråten is the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
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How 5G can boost Nordic and Baltic economies

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