Europe needs to invest 300 billion euro for 5G rollout

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An industrial study says that the economic boost from 5G will not be without up-front costs.

Europe needs to pump 300 billion euros ($355 billion) into its telecoms infrastructure by 2025 if it wants to roll out super fast 5G across the 27-country bloc to boost economic growth and tap the potential of the technology, an industry report said this week.

The report also said that the EU could create 2.4 million jobs by deploying the 5G network.

5G rollout across Europe would create 2.4 million jobs

The new report carries the title, “Connectivity and Beyond: How Telcos Can Accelerate a Digital Future For All”. European telecoms association ETNO released it, and the global management consulting firm BCG prepared it. The study arrives just as the European Union looks to 5G to lift it out of a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

European telcos say regulations are holding back the progress of 5G

EU telecoms operators have thus far been reluctant to invest in 5G networks. They acknowledge that 5G could support smart factories, self-driving cars and other productivity enhancers. But the massive outlay has proven an obstacle.

The EU telcos claim they need to scale up via mergers in order to tackle the costly projects, but complain that EU antitrust rules have prevented them from reching the size they need to take on the 5G challenge.

“150 billion euros is still needed to achieve a full-5G scenario in Europe, while an additional 150 billion euros is required to finish upgrading fixed infrastructure to gigabit speeds,” the report said.

Government can play a positive role – if it wants

Delays in auctioning of 5G spectrum – airwaves necessary for operators to start offering commercial 5G – due to governments shifting focus to counter the pandemic have also disappointed the industry.

The study proposed several measures that governments and regulators could implement to boost the telecoms industry.

“One such step is pursuing new ownership models involving voluntary infrastructure sharing, which can allow faster roll-out, reduced overall environmental impact, and increased knowledge transfer among partners,” it said.

Tip: Should Europe compete for technological world domination?