5G Technology – boosting post-COVID economy in Austria
Mobility Report: 15% of the world's population live in area with 5G coverage
According to latest Ericsson Mobility Report issued in November last year, a total of 220 million 5G subscriptions were expected by the end of 2020 representing 15% of the world's population. In 2026, 3.5 billion active 5G subscriptions are expected, which will constitute about 40% of all mobile subscriptions at that time. It is estimated that 54% of all data in mobile networks will be transmitted through 5G in 2026.
Such significant increase is driven by a national strategic focus, intense competition between service providers, as well as increasingly affordable 5G smartphones from several vendors. Pace of introducing new 5G functionality has increased in 2020 in both the network and device domains, despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic - service providers continued to switch on 5G and more than 100 have now announced commercial 5G service launches.
It is well accepted by now that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digitalization, as well as increasing the importance of, and need for, fast and reliable home broadband connectivity. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is, in many cases, the quickest alternative for service providers to meet this demand.
The worldwide experience from the first 5G FWA implementations replacing in difficult areas the costly construction of cable networks in such conditions is urgently observed in many regions of the world, also in Europe, where service providers count on their implementation.
5G FWA take-off also supports Austria's broadband strategy that focuses on the nationwide supply of gigabit connections by 2030 with almost nationwide availability of 5G by the end of 2025.
Analysys Mason: 5G innovation platform can provide Austria with above EUR 10 billion
The "5G action plan review for Europe" study, conducted by Analysys Mason in collaboration with Qualcomm and Ericsson, shows that the full introduction of 5G can provide Europe with additional benefits of EUR 210 billion. Smart factories, agriculture and suburban and rural areas will have the biggest impact on GDP. More than 50 billion euros of additional benefits can be achieved by providing public funding of less than EUR 20 billion.
What benefits can Austria achieve? Republic, thanks to the 5G innovation platform, can gain more than EUR 10 billion, ranking third out of thirty European countries from the perspective of net benefit per person. In turn, the estimated cost of building the 5G innovation platform in Austria is close to two billion euros. The sectors that will benefit most in Austria are smart rural and smart urban areas (over EUR 7.5 billion). On a utilization level, the largest economic benefits in terms of impact on European GDP will come from smart factories, agriculture and FWA (peri-urban and rural areas), providing net benefits of EUR 58 billion, EUR 37 billion and EUR 18 billion respectively.
The study also identified key areas that require part or all of the public funding to realize the anticipated benefits. These include healthcare and hospitals, municipal buildings, education, tourism, agriculture and urban hotspots, including public transport. The study concludes that more than EUR 50 billions of benefits can be achieved by providing public funding of less than EUR 20 billion.
Cybersecurity in the 5G era
The speed of the 5G rollout is however dependent on a number of different conditions - available infrastructure, an innovation climate, the demand for new use cases and of course the cybersecurity.
The 5G network is the first in the history of mobile communication to be designed with machines in mind. 5G is to become the backbone of modern economy, but also of the critical infrastructure on which the security of the country depends. The importance of 5G in the global economic development also raises questions about security in the implementation of this technology.
5G differs significantly from previous mobile communication standards. It is a technology that is supposed to be a critical infrastructure, supporting digitization, automation and communication with machines, robots and modern transport solutions, such as autonomous vehicles. With billions of connected devices and new types of applications, networks need to be more robust, secure and better protect an individual's right to privacy.
Special considerations and security concerns are understandable as we are dealing with a technology that will revolutionize many aspects of our lives and at the same time the degree of technological advancement makes it difficult to understand how it works. However, 5G also marks the beginning of a new era of network security, e.g. by introducing IMSI encryption. All traffic data transmitted over the 5G radio network is encrypted, protected against loss of integrity and subject to mutual authentication. And this is only a small part of the cyber security standards that are being implemented with the 5G development.
The security of the telecommunications network is based on 4 main pillars - standardization, network design, network configuration and the way of implementation and operation. Building secure 5G requires a comprehensive look, not just focusing on individual technical elements. For example, interactions between user authentication, traffic encryption, mobility, overload situations and network resilience aspects must be considered together. It is also important to understand the relevant threats and approach them accordingly. Given the interdependencies between different areas, it is essential to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive implementation of security measures in a common toolbox and their implementation at global, national and local levels. For years Ericsson has been co-creating 5G security policies based on relevant standards and industry best practices such as 3GPP, GSMA, ETSI and IETF as well as the EU 5G Toolbox.
Austria at the 5G threshold
In Austria, 5G technology is already available, with frequency bands 700, 1500, 2100, and 3400 – 3800 MHz being allocated and awarded. Ericsson's equipment is ready to work in the 5G network from 2015. This is possible by upgrading to 5G via remote software installation. So far more than 5 million 5G antennas have been sent to operators around the world.
Austria's 5G Strategy was issued in April 2018 and aims at achieving the rollout of the 5G mobile communications standard with optimized framework conditions, and aims at harnessing the associated opportunities for citizens, the economy, industry and science. In the first phase, first pre- commercial 5G trial installations were implemented by mid-2018. In the second phase, the rollout of 5G in all provincial capitals is planned. A third phase will bring 5G service availability to main traffic routes by the end of 2023 and a nationwide 5G availability by the end of 2025.
Ericsson is a leader in 5G standardization, with a majority stake for 4G and 5G. Taking into account the declarations made to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), using the necessity filter, Ericsson is at the top of the 5G patent race. According to the analysis of the law firm Bird & Bird, Ericsson holds the largest number of significant SEP (standard-essential patent) patents related to 5G in the world (15.8%).
5G will give operators the possibility to improve their existing consumer business and to address previously untapped value chains in the digitalization of industries. 5G technology opens up new opportunities in new ecosystems. Ericsson is working closely with telecom operators across the world and has a large number of Memorandums of Understandings. Together with its partners Ericsson is continuously testing, learning and pushing the boundaries of how 5G can meet the diverse needs now and of the future.
Being a leader in 5G, Ericsson is ready to support all Austrian operators to conduct 5G pilots and tests, as well as to contribute to building a strong ecosystem consisting of entrepreneurs, industries, service providers, universities and start-ups unlocking full 5G potential in Austria.
Learn more about Digitalisation in Austria.