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Bogdan Nitulescu, Tremend
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Telecom industry: 5G push triggers new industrial revolution

The telecom industry is facing a new industrial revolution that can generate billions of Euro, thousands new jobs and higher turnover for many other industries. With Romania pushing for a 5G national strategy, operators must continually find ways to stay ahead of the game. Strategies include investment in next-generation technologies and alternative network sourcing arrangements.

2018-12-05 11:11:50

Despite - or in some cases, because - of the continuing uncertainty and volatility in the global economy, there are major opportunities for telecom operators. Each company′s ability to identify and seize these opportunities depends critically on its ability to understand and manage risk.

There are new opportunities emerging, provided companies are willing to take those risks and make the bold strategic choices that are required.

"5G will unleash a real industrial revolution and an opportunity to reduce development gaps in Romania," said Sorin Grindeanu, president of the National Authority for the Administration and Regulation of Communications (ANCOM).

Recent studies show that the implementation of 5G in the Romanian economy will generate revenues of over 4.7 billion Euro, creating more than 250,000 jobs, and will increase the turnover of smart industries from 3.7 billion USD in 2020 to nine billion USD in 2026.

ANCOM claims that all urban centres, modernized motorways and railways, international ports and airports should benefit from 5G coverage, by 2025. "In order to maximize social and economic benefits, we intend to have seven pilot projects distributed throughout the country", Grindeanu added.

During ANCOM's annual conference, the "National Strategy for the Implementation of 5G in Romania" has been launched for public consultation. The interested persons are invited to submit their comments and suggestions, by 21 December 2018.

According to the document, the objective is to launch the 5G services by 2020 in "several representative Romanian cities, chosen by socio-economic criteria, in the context that additional spectrum resources will be made available to operators next year".

Other objectives include stimulating the deployment of 5G networks, through simplified regulations for building new physical infrastructure, transposing the European Electronic Communications Code, and promoting new uses and fostering cooperation by activating the 5G Alliance, the implementation of European and international technical standards and the harmonized use of radio frequencies in Europe.

According to some statistical data analysed by ANCOM, on 30 June 2018, there were 22.2 million users of mobile telephony in Romania, with a penetration rate of SIM cards per 100 inhabitants of 113.7 per cent.

"Traditional voice and SMS services have already achieved their growth potential, and are increasingly replaced by instant messaging and voice services, by Internet 2.0," said Eduard Lovin, vice-president of ANCOM. "High-speed internet connections have reached 85 per cent of all the internet connections. Counting by number of inhabitants, mobile internet traffic increased by approximately 45 per centin the first half of 2018. In order to continue such growth rates in the long run, on mobile internet, we need 5G. This is also a perfect opportunity for the leap in competitiveness by engendering new business models and innovative uses, in communications as well as in other sectors."

Investments in Romania's 5G network will go up to nine billion Euro by 2024, and the auction for the frequencies dedicated to this technology will begin by mid-2019, according to ANCOM. Of the total nine billion Euro, Grindeanu said, 1.6 billion Euro will be invested in communications, and the rest will go towards sectors that will "go through certain transformations" after 5G is introduced. ANCOM hopes the Strategy would be ready by the end of the year.

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