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A new study shows an accelerated roll-out of 5G connectivity across Europe and the UK will have a huge impact in reducing CO2e emissions.

Ericsson has funded a new Europe-wide study that finds that implementing 5G technology across the largest high-emitting sectors could result in the same carbon reduction as removing 35 million cars. That’s one in seven cars on Europe’s roads.

The four main sectors to target for 5G rollout are power, transport, manufacturing, and buildings.

The study reports that at least 40 percent of the EU’s carbon reduction solutions, up until 2030, will rely on fixed-line and mobile connectivity.

Adding in the savings from applying 5G to the four high-emitting sectors would bring the total emissions reduction to nearly 20 percent of the EU’s total annual emissions in 2017. That is the equivalent of the total annual emissions of Spain and Italy combined.

With so much at stake, Europe is faltering, study finds

But here is the bad news: new forecasting of 5G roll-out from the annual Ericsson Mobility Report paints a concerning picture for Europe.

At the end of 2020, 5G covered around 15 percent of the world’s population. In 2027, new forecasts predict that global roll-out will still only be at around 75 percent.

Significantly, North America and North East Asia are going to enjoy more than 95 percent population coverage by 2027. In contrast, Europe is heading to be significantly behind its economic competitors with more than 80 percent population coverage.

Ericsson has invested heavily in energy-efficiency-led R&D – and product and solution development – across all technology portfolios to offer customers the most sustainable alternatives for their network modernization strategies.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, chastised his EU colleagues. “At present, with 5G roll-out, Europe is strolling towards a more digital, low-carbon future, while other regions are sprinting in the same direction,” he warned.

“Policymakers and regulators have a major role to play here,” he added. They need to recognize the competitive economic, social and sustainable potential of 5G, he said.

They should be partnering with business “to clear practical, regulatory and financial obstacles so that people, businesses, industries and societies right across Europe can enjoy the benefits.”