The digitalisation of our economy and society is accelerating. With the Internet of Things, we see a new era of connectivity where billions of devices exchange data and digital intelligence in our everyday life. The Nordic-Baltic region aims to lead the implementation of 5G technology and innovative solutions.

5G has the potential to change society in a wide range of areas. A more automated and connected world based on 5G-technology could be an important driver for sustainable development and green solutions to the impacts of climate change and improve the well-being and livelihoods of many. Thus, the 5G roll-out could play an important part in reaching the goals set in the Nordic Prime Minsters Vision 2030 for the Nordic Cooperation. During 2020 the first 5G network will be rolled out and accessible in the region.

Unlike previous shifts from 2G to 3G and from 3G to 4G, the major impact of 5G will be found in almost all sectors of society, from industry, harbours, airports and energy companies to media, farms, fisheries, hospitals and entire cities. Nearly every sector of the economy relies upon the opportunity to effectively utilize the radio spectrum.

The importance of fast and consistent network connections has never been greater. Whether at work or at home, enterprises and consumers alike demand a fully connected experience, wherever they are, whenever they need it. But 5G is about more than speed alone. It also ultimately promises the capacity, reliability, and ultra-low latency required for mission-critical services such as autonomous cars, remote medical surgery, robots and drones supporting smart buildings, smart agriculture, smart cities, and smart logistics, among others.

- 5G should become an innovation platform stimulating new products and solutions. With the high digital penetration in our societies and a vibrant and fast-growing digital startup community, we have good opportunities to become one of the world’s leading 5G testbeds, Iceland´s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Bjarni Benediktsson says.

The Nordic Council of Ministers for Digitalisation (MR-DIGITAL) recently commissioned a SWOT analysis of Nordic/Baltic co-operation on the 5G roll-out.

The report provided important pointers for the path to take, e.g. working together to identify and abolish regional and legal obstacles to rolling out 5G across borders, and the need to develop advanced and sustainable solutions, where the region could benefit from cross-border cooperation between test environments.

The Nordic and Baltic ministers responsible for the digital development in the region discussed the report at their meeting in Riga 27th of November.

- The Nordic and Baltic countries are already among the most advanced digital regions in the world. It’s crucial that we together, public and private sector, take advantage of this position and harness the full potential of 5G and digital technologies to new sustainable and green solutions, Benediktsson concludes.

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