The future of 5G connectivity in Europe

The GSMA Mobile Economy Europe 2022 report, launched in October 2022, revealed that policy action is needed for EU to achieve Digital Decade goals. The report predicts that by 2025, the average adoption of 5G across Europe will hit 44%, with the UK and Germany expected to have the highest 5G adoption rates in Europe at 61% and 59% respectively. However, that rapid growth is outpaced by other world economies, with South Korea expected to hit 73% in the same time period, whilst Japan and the US are likely to achieve 68% adoption. To meet the European Commission’s Digital Decade 2030 goals, it is vital for policymakers to create the right conditions for private infrastructure investment, network modernisation and digital innovation. Read the press release here.

To discuss some of the pressing challenges, the GSMA invited its members, policymakers and European digital policy experts to the report launch event for an overview of the latest mobile industry trends and an in-depth discussion on the future of 5G connectivity in Europe.

Watch opening remarks by Laszlo Toth Head of Public Policy, Europe, GSMA

The Mobile Economy Europe 2022 report presentation by Tim Hatt, Head of Research and Consulting, Strategy, GSMA Intelligence

Key highlights: 

In 2021, 474 million people in Europe (86% of the population) were subscribed to mobile services, and this is expected to grow to 480 million by 2025.

The majority of countries in Europe have now deployed commercial 5G services, and nearly two thirds of operators in the region have launched 5G networks. By 2025, there will be 311 million 5G connections across Europe, a 44% adoption rate. However European markets still lag behind global peers such as Japan, South Korea and the US in the adoption of the technology.

As economies and societies around the world digitalise, the acceleration of 5G in Europe is necessary to ensure that traditional industrial and manufacturing strengths are not dragged down by weaknesses in the ICT sector. A financially sustainable mobile sector is key to the delivery of innovative services and the deployment of new networks.

The presentation is available here.

EURACTIV debate on the future of 5G connectivity in Europe

To further discuss the future of 5G connectivity in Europe, EURACTIV gathered an expect panel from across Europe, including Petr Ocko, Deputy Minister for Digitalisation and Innovation, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Peter Stuckmann, Head of Unit Future Connectivity Systems, DG CNECT, European Commission, Tsvetelina Penkova MEP, Member ITRE Committee, European Parliament (Bulgaria), Filipe Batista, Counselor Digital-Telecom, Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU, Matthias Bauer, Director, ECIPE, and Jakob Greiner, Vice President European Affairs, Deutsche Telekom, to discuss the infrastructure investment, spectrum policy, market composition, security and other topics. The debate was moderated by Jennifer Baker, EURACTIV Journalist.

Key highlights:

As Europe looks to expand its 5G coverage and close the gap with other regions, cybersecurity must be factored into all stages of the process.

Resilient and secure 5G infrastructure would benefit both businesses and consumers, and cultivating a less fragmented telecom market across the EU would be a necessary element in helping Europe to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of 5G connectivity.

Consolidation and ramping up the speed of network development would be the necessary first steps if Europe wants to foster a single telecoms market.

Policymakers would also need to think through issues such as the high costs and unfair licensing of the radio spectrum, as well as the paradox of stagnating revenues and rising data and deployment costs, if the problems in the sector are to be confronted.

Read the full round up of the event by EURACTIV “Stakeholders urge cybersecurity focus in 5G deployment“.

Download the Report