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DI: Send more 5G funding to Denmark

The Danish government’s new telecommunications agreement includes an action plan for 5G - but so far, no funding. The rest of the Nordic countries will launch 5G this year, but in Denmark the business conditions for telecom companies are so bad that Telia is not currently testing 5G in the country.
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry. USA and Asia has their sight firmly set on 5G. Denmark not so much. Photo: Peder Søgaard Pedersen.

Publiceret: 08.03.2018
Af Karen Witt Olsen mail

Last week the Danish government released its proposal for the future of Denmark’s internet, mobile phone coverage and broadband coverage.

The new telecommunications agreement will replace the last one from 1999, and at the Confederation of Danish Industry, Director of the Danish ICT and Electronics Federation Lars Frelle-Petersen welcomes the proposal - as a good starting point.

“The government’s desire to draw up a national action plan for 5G is good news for Danish businesses. We need world-class digital infrastructure if we are to retain our leading position in digitalisation,” he says.

See also: Danish companies are digital front runners in Europe

Other Nordic countries moving forwards with 5G

But the plan also has its weaknesses.

Currently the development of 5G, or fifth generation, mobile networks in Denmark is at a standstill, and even though the government’s proposal for the telecommunications agreement includes an action plan for 5G, no funding is dedicated to development of the technology in Denmark.

“We would like to see an earmarking of some of the revenue from frequency fees that the telecom industry pays for mobile licenses. The government ought to spend this money on general digitalisation goals such as broadband in less populated areas and development of 5G solutions for Danish businesses,” says Lars Frelle-Petersen.

None of Denmark’s four major telecom companies - Telia, TDC, Telenor and 3 - have announced current plans for 5G in Denmark.

Telia expects the first launches of 5G in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia in the course of 2018 or 2019.

“We currently have no concrete plans to test 5G in Denmark in 2018 like we do in other Nordic countries,” says Head of Denmark, Lithuania and Estonia at Telia, Henriette Wendt.

A 5G network is essential for everything from self-driving cars to connecting windmills and thermostats via the Internet of Things.

Why send 5G funding to Denmark

The reason Telia is not working on 5G in Denmark has to do with uncertainty in relation to the conditions for investment.

“It is generally difficult to plan investments in Denmark, and that is also the case with 5G. The business case in Denmark is more difficult compared to the other Nordic countries. Predictability and return on investment are more certain in countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland, so of course we have to ask ourselves - why would we send money to Denmark?” says Telia Director Henriette Wendt.

Spokesperson for IT and telecommunications at the Social Democrats Karin Gaardsted is willing to look into investment conditions in connection with the upcoming telecommunications agreement.

“Some of the revenue from frequency fees can be used to find out how we can make 5G a business case in Denmark. If we don’t make it a business case, we won’t get our telecom companies to invest as much as we need in Denmark,” says Karin Gaardsted.

Read also: Learn how to digitalise with LEGO bricks and VR glasses

We currently have no concrete plans to test 5G in Denmark in 2018.
HEAD OF DENMARK, LITHUANIA AND ESTONIA AT TELIA, HENRIETTE WENDT
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PUBLISHED: 3/8/2018 LAST MODIFIED: 3/8/2018