EUR 300 billion will be needed over the next five years to build the 5G mobile network across the European Union. This is stated in a research report commissioned by a European lobby organisation for telecom companies. Among other things, the European Union wants to invest in the high-speed 5G mobile network in order to boost the economy’s recovery after the coronavirus crisis.
European telecoms companies have been reluctant to invest in 5G because of the large amount of money involved. Especially with the fastest variant of the network the waves of the cell towers reach much less far than with 4G and so many more of those towers are needed. At the same time, attempts by the industry to form larger companies through mergers that can benefit from cost advantages have come up against strict European competition rules.
According to the report, to provide the whole EU with a coverage network of the slower form of 5G, EUR 150 billion is needed. For the faster variant, the so-called Gigabit network, the double is needed.
In order to make this huge investment pay, governments and regulators could help the industry with, for example, the possibility for telecom companies to share infrastructure on a voluntary basis. This could speed up the construction of the network, while reducing the environmental impact and costs. The rules for cooperation between telecom providers could also be relaxed.
Finally, the report suggests the sale of data through the network of the telecom companies, just like tech giants like Facebook and Google do. However, these companies are increasingly under attack because of their use of data.