Europe Plans Rapid 5G Expansion Project to Aid in Covid Recovery.
Europe, like the rest of the world, has had its economy seriously damaged by the effects of the pandemic. In an effort to catch up with China and the United States in rolling out super-fast fifth-generation (5G) telecoms networks, a rapid expansion of the technology has been announced.
The mission to introduce the technology, which ultimately promises internet speeds up to 20 times faster than today, could be crucial to how competitively the continent emerges from the devasting economic ruin the COVID-19 pandemic placed on the world.
With this in mind, the European Union is channelling a fifth of its 750-billion-euro recovery fund to improve countries’ digital capabilities. “Europe is, unfortunately, behind,” Pekka Lundmark, chief executive of Finnish network equipment maker Nokia, told Reuters. But the rollout “is accelerating already and in 2021 I think it will gather more speed in most countries”.
Swedish equipment maker Ericsson forecasts Europe’s 5G coverage should grow from around 1% of mobile subscriptions across the continent in 2020, to 55% in western countries and 27% in central and eastern states over the next five years, underpinning a longed-for economic recovery. The EU agreed its rescue package in July, and companies immediately started then to draw up digital plans.
Among various digital projects, Spain’s telecoms giant, Telefonica, calculates the funds could help cover all of Spain with fast fibre-optic Internet and extend standalone 5G – capable of giving the highest performance – to around 85% of the country by 2025.
Global 5G mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 220 million by the end of this year.
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