Telcos take 5G to the country in Dutch research project

News

KPN, Vodafone, Ericsson and Huawei have joined a Dutch project aimed at developing 5G within the Netherlands.

The telcos are part of a 10-strong consortium that also comprises the country's Ministry of Economic Affairs, other public bodies and universities.

A testbed in the province of North Groningen has been launched, with innovation research centring on logistics, health, the environment, energy and agriculture. It will specifically examine self-driving cars and the monitoring of crop diseases.

The companies involved said the project is a first for Europe in looking at the rural applications for 5G. The first series of tests will take place at Zernike Campus.

Peter Rake, 5G Programme Manager at Economic Board Groningen, said: “Farmers are at the forefront of technological innovation; not only with regard to the efficiency of their business operations, but also, importantly, with a view to ensuring sustainability and environmental protection.

“Other sectors in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe are paying close attention to agricultural innovation in the fields of sensors, drones and other technologies that will benefit from 5G development.”

Henk Kamp, the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs, added: “Today, the Netherlands enjoy fast mobile connectivity. We need to ensure that our country continues to benefit from the latest developments of mobile technologies such as 5G. This will bring added value for citizens, as well as businesses – not only from an economic perspective, but also by enabling key innovations in fields such as healthcare and agriculture.”

Earlier this week, Ericsson teamed up with TIM for a 5G for Italy project, which will unite industries across the country to test use cases and services.

However, last week Orange's Deputy CEO warned that a lack of M&A activity across Europe could hinder the deployment of 5G in the run-up to its expected launch date of 2020.