The Advent of 5G: Should Technological Evolution Lead to Regulatory Revolution?

CPI Antitrust Chronicle NOVEMBER · VOLUME 3 · AUTUMN 2016

13 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2016

See all articles by P. Alexiadis

P. Alexiadis

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Tony Shortall


Date Written: November 28, 2016


The much awaited next generation of mobile technology is referred to as “5G” and is much more than a radio access technology, being constituted by a portfolio of access and connectivity solutions which require the deployment of a new flexible air interface directed to extreme mobile broadband deployment and usually associated with the provision of faster downloads and lower latency. The deployment of 5G technology will deliver virtually ubiquitous, ultra-high bandwidth “connectivity” not only to individual users but also to connected objects. A wide range of applications and sectors will be served in a 5G environment, including professional uses (e.g., assisted driving, eHealth, energy management, possibly safety applications). In order to ensure interoperability with past generations of mobile communications, the availability of LTE networks will provide a key technical bridge between 5G and its predecessor technologies, with 5G deployment embracing previous generations of access modes. A regulatory commitment has been agreed among the Member States and the European Commission that 5G will be introduced throughout the European Union (EU) by 2020 at the latest, with the key hardware already scheduled to be made available over the course of the year 2017. Specific objectives that have been established to have 5G deployed in at least one major city within the EU by 2020 after a commercial launch in 2018, with all urban areas and major terrestrial transport paths being covered by 2025. The question addressed is whether the broad political commitment to fulfilling these 5G objectives across the EU by 2025 can somehow be aligned with the technological changes that will be effected by this new technology and the regulatory changes that might be necessary to accommodate those changes. We further consider the policy implications at the EU level of a failure to adapt regulation to the dictates of the new technological environment which may absorb as much as 500 Billion Euros in investment over a ten year period.

Keywords: 5G, Roaming, Net Neutrality, Regulation, IoT

JEL Classification: I18, K23, L43, l51

Suggested Citation

Alexiadis, P. and Shortall, Tony, The Advent of 5G: Should Technological Evolution Lead to Regulatory Revolution? (November 28, 2016). CPI Antitrust Chronicle NOVEMBER · VOLUME 3 · AUTUMN 2016, Available at SSRN:

P. Alexiadis (Contact Author)

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP ( email )

1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Tony Shortall

Independent ( email )

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