Politics & Regulation
5G opens the door to new services and markets which will change many aspects of our lives. Regulation will therefore be necessary for the new, 5th generation of mobile networks. This will include ensuring technological compatibility at a global level while also providing cybersecurity. The main areas that will require regulation are devices and equipment, spectrum and frequency bands, construction, data sharing, and cybersecurity.
The hardware and software central to 5G are developed by private vendors in different countries, each having their own culture and legislation. Chinese companies are central to IT hardware while the US industry dominates software development.
As this is entering new territory, standards will need to be either updated or created. Standard-setting bodies exist on inter-, trans-, supra-, and national levels, in both the public and private spheres. Some examples of participating bodies include the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Standards Organization (ISO), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); and (specifically at the European level) the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP), the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
In general, policies and regulations are implemented at the national level. However, in Europe, the case is different as the EU takes on a coordinating role. The European Commission has laid out a strategic guideline, called the 5G Action Plan. The European Parliament has also passed resolutions regarding cybersecurity and voted on bandwidth assignments for 5G, which were then adopted by the Council of the EU.
To encourage long-term network investments in Europe, the Parliament also secured 20 years of investment predictability for spectrum licenses (this used to be 10 years), and implemented ways to release these spectrums in a timely and coordinated manner.