State of the Union address paves way for major 5G push

15 September 2016

As part of the European Commission President’s recent State of the Union address, Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules that will facilitate the push for high-speed 5G networks across the European Union.

This revised strategy will come in the form of three general connectivity objectives that are to be met by the year 2025. Those objectives are as follows:

All key institutions or ‘socio-economic drivers’ across the EU such as schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, hospitals, and enterprises should have access to a gigabit network (under which description fits 5G).

All European households should have access to connectivity offering a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, which can be upgraded to a gigabit connection.

All urban areas as well as major roads and railways should have uninterrupted 5G coverage. Prior to that, 5G should be commercially available in at least one major city in each EU Member State by 2020.

Naturally these objectives will take considerable investment to reach, and a large portion of the required funds will need to come from private sources. To that end, the Commission has proposed a new European Electronic Communications Code that will encourage companies to invest in new network infrastructure.

It will do so by offering a simpler, more stable regulatory environment across the EU. This will especially be applied to the use of radio frequencies, where the EC wishes to converge standards across Europe.

Despite appealing to businesses, the new European Communications Code will also provide stronger consumer protection. Under the code, it will be easier for customers to switch suppliers when signed up to so-called quad-play packages (internet, TV, landline and mobile all rolled into one under the same provider). There will also be stricter security requirements for network providers to meet.

The Commission has also come up with a 5G Action Plan towards deploying 5G across the EU from 2018 onwards, with a coordinated commercial launch targeted for 2020.

Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Connectivity is a key prerequisite for Europe’s digital future: The Internet of Things, digitisation of industry, cloud, big data – all this demands secure and ubiquitous connectivity, with the best speed and quality. Europe has the ambition to lead on the deployment of 5G. It is time to move to a gigabit society and make sure all Europeans, whether in the countryside or in cities, can get access to a quality internet connection.”

Useful reading: What Is 5G

Sub-Editor at

James is sub-editor at both and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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