The European Commission said Spain, France, Germany and Italy account for 40% of these 5G trials

Europe ended 2018 with a total of 139 5G trials in 23 countries, according to the latest report by the European Commission’s 5G Observatory.

According to the report, preparations are intensifying in Europe as the first 5G networks are ready to be opened for business.

“European mobile operators have been working for two years with equipment manufacturers and vertical players on various trials in order to validate 5G’s capabilities,” the report said.

According to the report, the most tested use cases are media and entertainment, followed by transport and automotive.

The European Commission’s 5G Observatory also said that trials are the most numerous in Spain, France, Germany and Italy with these top four countries accounting for 40% of 5G trials in Europe.

Regarding the status of 5G trials in Europe, the report showed that to date, more than half of the trials have been completed.

“In the coming months, European mobile operators should prepare the deployment phase and will be able to perform tests in ‘real’ conditions as the first 5G smartphones are expected to be available in the first half of 2019,” according to the report.

In June 2018, Nordic telco Elisa announced availability of a commercial 5G network in Tampere, Finland and Estonia’s capital city Tallinn. In late 2018, French carrier Orange announced detailed plans regarding 5G network deployment and commercial launch. In 2019, 5G deployments are expected with tens of base stations in many cities across Europe, according to the report.

“In addition, European industry is exploring new 5G market opportunities in numerous trials ranging from smart cities to connected and automated mobility in partnerships such as in the 5G-PPP. Companies are preparing for the next wave of digital transformation in Europe using the advanced capabilities of 5G such as connectivity for mission-critical applications. Further progress in standards is still necessary to meet these critical requirements,” the report said.

The European Commission’s action plan, announced in September 2016 and confirmed by the EU member states in December 2017, targets the commercial rollout of 5G in one major city in every member state by 2020, as well as coverage of the main urban areas and transport routes by 2025.

In addition, 35 “5G cities” have been identified across 14 countries and are set to receive 5G coverage by 2020.

Some of these cities where 5G services will be tested include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bari, Berlin, Bristol, Espoo, Ghent L’Aquila, London, Lyon, Madrid, Malaga, Marseille, Matera, Milan, Oulu, Paris, Patras, Prato, Stockholm, Tallinn and Turin.

“These trial cities aim to provide support for variety of technology and service demonstrations carried out during the 5G trialling phase, and provide valuable vertical use cases especially for smart city [concepts]to validate the trials in real user environments,” according to the report.

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