5G and fibre networks will drive innovations such as smart manufacturing and automated cars and better serve smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT).
An investment-friendly environment will be crucial, and so will be collaboration among operators, governments, regulators, citizens and civil society.
These were the top messages from Lise Fuhr, Director General of the European Telecommunications Network Operators (ETNO), during an interview at last week’s ITU Telecom World event in Budapest.
ETNO is the leading European trade association for telecommunication companies in Europe, and its members represent some 70% of the investment capital in sector infrastructure in the European Union, says Fuhr.
Ms Fuhr spoke to ITU about the role of 5G as an enabler for innovative services and features – and the importance of investment for 5G.
“5G will be a game changer for all of us because it will change the way we do industry, but also the way we live as a citizen.”
Collaboration will be crucial.
“Because [5G] is going to affect so many parts of society, we need a multistakeholder approach,” says Fuhr. “We as operators, governments, citizens and civil society need to go together and see how we can benefit best from 5G and how we can achieve the ‘gigabit society‘ goals that we’ve set in Europe, for example.”
Events like ITU Telecom World 2019 are valuable to ETNO, as they allow the trade association to communicate statements with clarity and engage in dialogue with governments on how to achieve goals.
“We as operators, governments, citizens and civil society need to go together and see how we can benefit best from 5G and how we can achieve the gigabit society goals.”
For 5G in particular, significant investments will be needed, said Fuhr, citing Boston Consulting Group estimates that 500 billion euros will be needed to achieve the ‘gigabit society’ in Europe.
To this end, she says, an investment-friendly environment will be crucial and governments and regulators play a huge role in this regard.
What ITU does is enable dialogue and allow ETNO to send the message that there is already huge pressure on the supply side for 5G – but help is needed to generate a demand side, Fuhr says.
“It’s important to have the dialogue we have with the government, with the regulators, with other stakeholders – because if we are to make 5G a success,” says Fuhr. “We all need to be a part of that.”