A discussion on how to accelerate the launch of 5G in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region took place during a virtual meeting organised by the EU4Digital Facility on 6 October 2020. The afternoon meeting was one of the side events that were held in the framework of the Steering Committee Meeting of the EU4Digital initiative, running from 5-9 October.
Over 60 participants joined the discussion, including members of the Spectrum Expert Working group (SEWG), European Commission (DG CONNECT, DG NEAR), Harmonised Digital Market (HDM) Coordinators, EU Delegations and other interested stakeholders from Eastern partner countries.
Participants had a unique opportunity to learn more about the protection of people and the environment against electromagnetic fields, and the basic restrictions related to thermal effect and reference levels, indicating the limits that are considered safe to meet. These topics were presented by EU4Digital Spectrum team leader Marcin Biec in relation to effective and successful 5G implementation, also covering case studies of 4G and 5G implementation in Italy, Poland and Belgium.
The presentation was followed by feedback from Roman Kurdadze, Chair of the Spectrum expert working group (SEWG) of the EaPeReg (Eastern Partnership Electronic Communications Regulators Network), who presented SEWG priorities on the 5G topic, including 5G networks implementation and maintenance, spectrum sharing and cybersecurity for 5G networks, broadcasting in 5G and future usage of the Ultra high frequency (UHF) band. The event wrapped up with a common discussion on the state of play and future plans related to 5G implementation in the Eastern partner countries.
Freeing the 700 MHz radio frequency band for new generation 5G technology launch is one of the three main topics under the Telecom Rules thematic area of the EU4Digital Facility. The EU4Digital Facility aims at supporting development and implementation of a coordinated approach for freeing 700 MHz in the six Eastern partner countries. At the current stage of activities, the regional EaP roadmap for freeing 700 MHz has already been handed over to the countries for implementation, whereas the regional Spectrum Agreement (RSA) is in the final stages of alignment and expected to be signed by early 2021.