Nokia mainlines 5G for industrial transformation in Europe with €500m loan deal
Nokia’s new €500 million loan from the European Investment Bank for 5G research and developnent will boost the region’s drive for industrial and economic transformation, as US and Asian markets push ahead.
Nokia told Enterprise IoT Insights 5G will shift the European economy up a gear.
“5G will bring higher speeds, higher capacity, lower latency and greater reliability to applications dependent on connectivity. 5G is not just ‘the next G’, it’s a complete redesign of network architecture, with the flexibility and agility to support an array of future service opportunities,” said a spokesperson.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) said 5G will play an “all-encompassing role” as the region’s idnsutrial operatives reimagine their enterprise functions and services. “Without connectivity, all of the these themes have no future,” commented an EIB spokesperson.
“Features like the practically real-time connections will open the door for new applications in a wide array of fields.”
The €500 million loan deal is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key element of the Investment Plan for Europe, referred to variously as the ‘Juncker Plan’ and the ‘EU Infrastructure Investment Plan’.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker signed off the investment programme in late 2014, as he took the presidency, in order to unlock public and private investments in the “real economy” of at least €315 billion in the period to December 2017.
In particular, the new Nokia fund will go on “super-responsive and reliable networks for customers,” powering high-speed, low-latency wireless services, including on-demand virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences, driverless vehicles, medical monitoring, and advanced industrial automation services, the trio said.
“While 4G LTE is all about high-speed mobile broadband and access, 5G is about application diversity and new possibilities, leading to new business opportunities for operators and enterprises,” said Nokia.
“This includes enabling Industrie 4.0, with the ultra-low latency, high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G supporting time- and mission-critical applications and enhancing production and efficiency across multiple industries. So, 5G is absolutely critical to industrial transformation.”
Funding innovation is a precursor to digital transformation, noted the EIB, pointing to investments it has already set down for future-technology projects in Europe. “But this type of financing is about the step before that: it should enable one technology to unlock [the] other possibilities that 5G offers. In that respect, funding 5G is a big thing for future digitalisation.”
Nokia’s new €500 million loan is intended to drive competitiveness through new 5G-led innovation in the European Union. “With Asian and American companies on the forefront in many fields, it’s important to have a vital European industry to match,” said the EIB.
Nokia, meanwhile, pointed to exploratory work it has already done with 5G in the industrial space, notably with Telia Company and Intel in Finland, where the trio combined to test smart factory latencies using a trial 5G radio access network in the 28 GHz frequency band.
It also noted the industrial application of 5G slicing in its work with Deutsche Telekom on a 8000-hectare plot in the Port of Hamburg, where it is testing use cases like traffic lights management, data processing from mobile sensors and virtual reality.
“5G is nearly there, but still needs money on a couple of fronts. The EIB backing this technology is a signal that the EU is there for European forerunners, and in this specific case will accelerate the research, development and innovation by Nokia on an end-to-end solution for this technology. The EIB is pleased to provide funding for rollouts and digitalisation of the EU manufacturing industries,” said Nokia.
EIB vice president Alexander Stubb commented: “5G is happening fast – faster than most people even expected. It’s anticipated that it will enable entirely new business cases, while dramatically enhancing existing wireless applications.”
Jyrki Katainen, vice president of the European Commission, said: “Ensuring Europe embraces and benefits from new technologies requires sustained investment.”