5G Role in the EU post-Covid Economic Recovery
The outbreak of COVID-19 significantly disrupted our daily lives and affected the way we work, educate, purchase goods and services, and receive healthcare. The pandemic also highlighted the central role of connectivity and digital technologies in our economy and daily lives, hence the urgency and strategic importance of accelerating digital transformation. In a relatively short time, both private and public sectors had to adapt and provide digital experience to customers and employees. The pandemic has also demonstrated the need for fast and ubiquitous connectivity hence brings a significant increase in demand for connectivity and positions 5G as a growing necessity.
5G and the post-Covid world
5G enables great opportunities for people and businesses to address some of the crucial societal and economical challenges. Many believe 5G is the engine of the 4th industrial revolution and will dramatically increase human capital by improving workers’ efficiency.
In a post-COVID world, 5G will be a key driver of economic growth and recovery across multiple industries. It is also a unique opportunity for companies to move beyond recovery and drive sustainable growth over the next decade.
New technological infrastructures have always been the source of growth after major crises. The COVID-19 crisis also offers a unique and agreeable opportunity to the public and private sectors to re-envision the value of the 5G use cases across various sectors. New projections show a +10% net increase in global 5G investment during 2020-35 compared to the 2019 forecast.
5G Economic Impact
Compared with the 3G and 4G, the 5G is projected to have a much greater impact on the global economy contributing more than $13 trillion potential sales activity across multiple industry sectors by 2035, representing 5% of global real output, and generating 22.3 million jobs through the 5G value chain. IHS Markit forecast projects that the global real GDP will grow at an average annual rate of 2.7%, of which 5G will contribute almost 0.2%.
The previous generations of mobile communications technologies changed the paradigm in the consumer space by enabling the development of social networking ecosystems, e.g., Uber, TikTok, Airbnb. Unlike the previous generations, 5G has been designed for enterprise applications and has the potential to also revolutionize enterprise and the business-to-business side of the market.
To fully deploy 5G and take advantage of its benefits, businesses and industries need improved regulations, better collaboration, and a willingness to innovate. Governments and regulators also need to facilitate the adoption of 5G by prioritizing investment in infrastructure or subsidies to drive down costs.
Post-Covid Recovery in the EU
In the EU there is a growing consensus among the policymakers on the need to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis with an ambitious boost to the economy and robust investments towards a digital sustainable future. As part of such a plan, recently the European Commission (EC) has advised EU member states to develop a common approach to the deployment of fiber and 5G services. The main argument is that 5G connectivity will boost the economic recovery from coronavirus and builds resilience against future crises. The EC issued Commission Recommendation (EU) 2020/1307 on 18 September 2020 on a common Toolbox for reducing the cost of deploying very high capacity networks. The implementation of the Toolbox establishes a clear process, adequate monitoring, and increased transparency at the national and EU levels.
EU to boost 5G deployment for post-Covid recovery
Enabling connectivity to support post-Covid economic recovery, EC recommends developing timely and investment-friendly access to 5G radio spectrum by
- removing unnecessary administrative hurdles and streamlining permit granting procedures to reduce the costs of network deployment;
- increasing transparency and reinforcing the single information point
- expanding the right to access the existing physical infrastructure controlled by public sector bodies; and
- improving the dispute resolution mechanism.
The EU countries are required to remove regulatory hurdles and stage a coordinated release of spectrum to mobile operators, by March 2021 as a roadmap to which the governments will have to refer for the implementation of networks in their territories.
Versatile development of 5G requires service continuity in substantial territories and across national borders. Therefore, the EU countries are required to incentivize 5G deployment throughout their territories, including rural and remote areas, and further cooperate in the deployment of 5G in cross-border areas.
To avoid inconsistent practices, the EU countries should also facilitate compliance with the 4-month deadline for granting or refusing all necessary permits and should identify that further streamline permit granting procedures, such as tacit approval and simplified permit procedures for necessary civil works.
5G requires operators to develop more sites in less time and at lower costs than ever before. In MD7, we leverage deep expertise, industry-leading technology, and data management to get sites online faster. We have the technology in place for quick siting and candidate identification anywhere on the globe, negotiating new leases and amendments with property owners and MLAs. MD7 also creates the documentation necessary to acquire permits and get to construction and handling requirements for every type of municipality, including the most challenging.