The number of 5G tests conducted by mobile operators in 28 European Union (EU) countries reached 138 in mid-December 2018, according to the second quarterly report of the 5G observatory published by the European Commission (EC) and developed by the research company IDATE DigiWorld. This means that the number of 5G trials has increased from 114 compared to the first report published in October 2018. The report noted that cellular operators will soon go to the implementation phase, testing in "real" conditions when 5G smartphones begin to appear in the first mid-2019. In addition, 33 trials were reported in Russia, Turkey, San Marino, Switzerland and Norway. Spain, France and Germany (second place) and Italy were the most active in terms of trying in this order, representing 40 percent of the total. Russia and Great Britain also occupy the fourth place. According to the report, the most important 5G pilot in the EU to date was conducted by Elisa in Finland in July 2018, because he used at least two mobile sites and involved end users. Other interesting nuggets from the second report include the fact that the most tested frequency band in Europe is definitely the 3.6 GHz band, while the 26 GHz band is beginning to gain traction. EU Member States are also required to approve the 700 MHz band by 2020, unless there are good reasons to delay this band by mid-2022 at the latest. At this stage, the 700 MHz band has been allocated in Germany, France, Finland, Italy and Sweden; the 3.4-3.8 GHz band was allocated for 5G in Finland, Italy, Latvia, Spain and the United Kingdom; and the 26 GHz band has been assigned in Italy. At least one spectrum auction for 2019 is planned in 11 Member States. The top 10 European countries where tests are organized are Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania. So far, the first tests in Europe mainly rely on checking bandwidth and delays, and the media and entertainment are listed as the most important vertical market. National 5G road maps Nine Member States have now published accurate national 5G road maps (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and 13 have published national 5G road maps or global strategy documents (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Eight Member States are to publish their 5G strategies in 2019: Cyprus (January), Denmark (February), Malta (March), Hungary (April), Portugal (July), Croatia (in the fourth quarter), Greece (December) and Lithuania (until the end of 2019). The report also notes that the EU legal framework for electronic communications has recently been reviewed, and the new European Code of Electronic Communications (EECC) will enter into force in early 2019. It is expected to provide 5G acceleration and high-speed broadband connections across the region . An EC 5G observatory has been launched to ensure that the EU keeps pace with the rest of the world in terms of 5G development. Its primary role is to help the EC implement the 5G Action Plan, which is an initiative launched in September 2016. To coordinate the implementation of 5G technology in all EU countries, support the development of common technical standards and promote 5G innovation. The goal is to launch commercial 5G services in one large city in all EU Member States by the end of 2020.
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