3rd Annual European 5G Conference, 22 January 2019, Brussels

On the 22nd & 23rd of January 2019, the 3rd Annual European 5G Conference in Brussels, Belgium took place.

Spearheaded by a pledge from Roberto Viola, Director of the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General (DG) Connect, he indicated that he would ensure Member States assign spectrum by 2020 for 5G, and that he would “go Member State by Member State to make sure this obligation is fulfilled”.  An encouraging statement from the EC for all mobile network operators seeking to deploy 5G in a timely manner.  Peter Stuckmann, Head of Unit, Future Connectivity Systems at the European Commission gave an overview of where 5G trials and deployments currently stand in the EU and around the world, highlighting examples of what the EC is doing to encourage and facilitate the trials and deployment of 5G across the EU. 

Arnaud Vamparys, Senior Vice President Radio Networks and 5G leader for Orange participated in this conference on a panel entitled “The likely impact of 5G on business models and profitability”.  Sat alongside his peers, Alexander Lautz – Senior Vice President 5G from Deutsche Telekom, Joost Vantomme – Smart Mobility Director ACEA, Andreas Mueller - Head of Communication and Network Technology at Bosch Corporate Research and Christophe De Hauwer - Chief Development Officer at SES, Arnaud Vamparys presented Orange’s vision of how our lives would be transformed through 5G networks.  

Three main applications were highlighted: Improved high-speed mobile broadband (eMBB); very high-speed fixed broadband access (Fixed Wireless Access – FWA); new applications to support the digital transformation of businesses. Trials are numerous and ongoing. The target timelines highlighted for commercial launch of eMBB was 2020, FWA was 2021-2022+, and the launching of the first verticals in 2020-2021. Some key challenges that would need to be addressed such as, striving for one global standard in terms of architecture, being able to control costs, including energy, or being able to connect everyone including in rural areas, were highlighted. On the other hand, delivering the full 5G promise from 2020 will enable enhanced mobile, fixed wireless access, innovative services closer to customers ‘ various needs, or the deployment of massive Internet of Things.

During that day, Arnaud Vamparys also announced Orange’s participation to the “Challenge 5G” to explore 5G assets with European Start-ups.

To complement, Andy Hudson from the GSMA, highlighted some key 5G policy recommendations that were debated throughout the conference: streamline regulatory conditions to facilitate 5G deployment; provide regulatory flexibility for innovative 5G services; and, release sufficient spectrum for 5G that is harmonised and affordable.