Nokia Tepid About 5G In Europe, Local Players Disagree

Nokia’s chief technology officer, Hossein Moiin, has stated that carriers and network vendors in Europe may be a bit behind their counterparts in other markets, especially Asia and the US, but local elements Orange and Vodafone, among others, do not seem to share that sentiment. While Moiin feels that investment and development in 5G could use a boost in Europe, some local carriers are insistent that the opposite is true; other places need to slow down on their 5G rollouts, since the standard has not even been made official by the 3GPP yet.

According to Moiin, European authorities could help to move 5G investment along by essentially letting operators conduct mergers and acquisitions as they please. Even if the European Commission went through with this plan, however, a number of key players may not be willing to play along. Orange, one of the biggest carriers in Europe, specifically said that it would have no intention of participating in efforts of such a nature, should they come to be. On a similar note, the European Commission reportedly received word earlier in the year from some larger carriers essentially saying that the 5G plan it had laid out was not feasible. That plan called for major investment, and acceleration of development and rollout in a manner not unlike what the United States has done. In the US, most wireless carriers are promising to roll out 5G solutions as quickly as possible, with T-Mobile promising to get full 5G coverage across their network by the end of 2020. The American wireless scene at large, with few exceptions, is pushing for the 3GPP to complete the standard ahead of schedule to allow for earlier development and rollouts.

Nokia, for its part, has been working diligently at rolling out 5G services alongside partners worldwide, as well as “4.9G” designed to serve as an incremental rollout, and provide fallback coverage so that customers who wander out of 5G coverage areas still have higher speeds and better signal than today’s typical LTE networks provide. It has been testing 5G solutions in Europe that use unusual frequency bands, among other strategies. The company has even partnered up with Chinese chipmaker MediaTek, whose products are used by the majority of OEMs worldwide in at least some of their products, to help roll out 5G on a global scale faster.

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