European Union Plans to Develop 5G Network

22.7.2014 Julian Blazek

At a time when smart phone users in the US are enjoying 4G LTE connectivity, Europe seems to be lagging behind. However, the EU is now working with South Korea to develop 5G or fifth generation mobile networks. Besides developing the standard, EU also plans to focus on harmonizing the spectrum demands of 5G networks for ensuring convenient roaming around the world.


While the EU is planning to move to 5G, most of the industry is just working to catch on with LTE. The last few years have seen some trials in the 5G spectrum. Although the 5G standard has not yet come into existence, it is currently being classed as a network faster than the 4G standard.


Samsung, for example, tested a demo of 5G, but it was made possible using a van loaded with antennas and batteries. This means that 5G may have come into existence but it is not possible to achieve it efficiently on a device as small as a smart phone.


Another major issue with the standardization of 5G is that LTE is still not fully implemented and the industry has to embrace it yet. As LTE itself was designed for the long-term, it has so many provisions and room for expansion that it can continue to remain in use for a long time. Therefore, it may not be easy for the EU to push for 5G until the era of LTE and LTE Advanced (LTE-A) are over.


LTE-Advanced is still in its trial phase, and EU may be taking a big leap into the future if it succeeds with 5G. LTE-A was in fact first assigned to be the first 4G standard in wireless networks.


The LTE, HSPA+ and WiMax were actually the 3G standard until the North American carriers made the ITU designate something much faster. This was when WiMax, LTE and HSPA+ were renamed to 4G. This means that the current 4G is probably 3G and the actual 4G (LTE-A) may not have yet arrived.


This means the EU and South Korea are busy developing a network standard that could be much ahead of the currently used “3G” network. And if they succeed, the North American carriers could be left behind.

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