5G: Driving Europe’s Economic Recovery and Green Transition

Qualcomm’s Wassim Chourbaji explains how investment in 5G can provide the economic boost Europe needs to achieve its digital and green objectives.
Wassim Chourbaji, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Public Policy EMEA at Qualcomm

By Wassim Chourbaji

Wassim Chourbaji is Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Public Policy EMEA at Qualcomm

23 Dec 2020

As the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close, advanced electronic communications has become an economic and educational lifeline; allowing us to work from home; our children to pursue their studies; elected officials and public administrations to govern; and the health authorities to manage contagion.

This recognition has driven the timely deployment of 5G bringing a once-in-a-millennium opportunity to deliver a greener, more inclusive and more resilient economic recovery.

5G helps decarbonise the economy, increase energy efficiency and improve transport safety while transforming industries and providing the economic stimulus Europe needs – thereby contributing to achieving the objectives of the EU Recovery Plan and the Green Deal.

So, from January 2021 when the EU hopes to begin releasing funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, it is important that the dedicated 20 percent set aside for digital investments also ensures the extensive deployment of 5G high capacity and secure network infrastructure bringing next generation connectivity to every part of Europe.

5G is not just another step in the ongoing revolution in electronic communications viewed through the prism of a smartphone or computer. It is a vital technology that will connect everything.

A recent study commissioned by Qualcomm and Ericsson found that full deployment of 5G as an ‘open innovation platform’ could add €210bn in benefits to the European economy with an investment of €46 bn; that’s a five euros benefit for every one euro spent.

“So from January 2021 when the EU hopes to begin releasing funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, it is important that the dedicated 20 percent set aside for digital investments ensures deployment of 5G high capacity and secure network infrastructure bringing next generation connectivity to every part of Europe”

Looking into specific sectors, the study shows that the largest economic benefits will come from smart production and logistics and smart rural use cases; especially in smart factories, agriculture and fixed wireless access for remote connectivity in suburban and rural areas that would provide net benefits of €58bn, €37bn and €18bn respectively.

A 5G-empowered manufacturing sector powered by smart logistics and remote exploitation will reduce carbon emissions and enable better management of energy consumption, labour and materials.

In the smart agriculture sector real-time monitoring of crops will allow farmers to optimise watering efficiency and reduce the use of fertilisers. To fully achieve those benefits, EU countries would need to release all 5G ‘pioneer’ spectrum bands as early as possible in particular in the 26 GHz millimetre wave range.

The study also identifies key areas that would require partial or full public funding to realise the benefits of 5G including smart public services such as healthcare and hospitals, municipal buildings, education, tourism, agriculture and urban hotspots including public transport. Less than €20 bn in public funding could deliver as much as €50bn in benefits.

It is clear that 5G will become one of the core technological foundations on which our economies and societies will be built. Qualcomm is committed to be working with businesses, organisations, and governments across Europe to seize the significant opportunities this technology presents.

We are convinced that strong 5G investments as part of the recovery plan represent an essential tool for achieving the Europe’s twin transition and for laying the foundation for a resilient growth long into a connected and green 21st century.

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