Nordic and Baltic policymakers see an important role for the region in the development of 5G technology. They want to build on the region’s high level of digital maturity, and willingness to share knowledge. The goal is to retain the region’s position as a frontrunner in the race towards a mobile future.
Together with the Latvian Government, the Nordic Council of Ministers hosted the first 5G Techritory conference this week.
This is exactly the kind of forum we need to make 5G technology a success.
Major international players such as Qualcomm, Cisco, Telia and Huawei sent executive officers to Riga, underlining the IT and telecom sector’s desire for closer contact with key policymakers in the region.
One of those is Deputy State Secretary Edmunds Belskis from the Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. He says the point of the conference was to create a meeting place for pioneers, innovators, international companies and policymakers, an arena where they could find common ground for sharing ideas and discussing what needs to be done to move forward with 5G technology.
“When we manage to draw keynote speakers and participants from all over the world, we must have done something right. We’ve touched a nerve,” says Belskis.
More cooperation and coordination
Deputy Director Susanna Mattsson from Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation is also Chairman of The High Level Group under MR-Digital at the Nordic Council of Ministers. She was one of the delegates struck by the impact of the event.
“It’s been a very interesting and useful conference. It´s imperative that we as policymakers receive input from the industry. This is also in accordance with the Prime Ministers’ declaration and the multi stakeholder cooperation,” says Mattson.
Vice President Ingmārs Pūķis of Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) used the roundtable meeting with the Nordic-Baltic High Level Group to address the need for a simplified process and better coordination.
For us the legal aspect of building antennas all over a city is horrendous – the amount of paperwork needs to be reduced. Secondly, I would like to see greater coordination between the Nordic and Baltic countries, and for them to exert more coordinated pressure on the EU, so we can move faster and more decisively in the direction our region wants.
At first there was no plan to make this an annual conference, but as the work with 5G Techritory progressed it became clear that all parties wanted something more than just a one-off event. This feeling became stronger during the conference.
“5G will continue to evolve for the next 10-20 years, so we see a need for this type of meeting place in the years to come. It also fits nicely with our Nordic-Baltic goal to be the frontrunners for digital innovations,” says Belskis.
Deputy Director Susanna Mattsson also sees 5G Techritory as a natural forum for the High Level Group in the future.
“I think this will also be a conference where our ministers could meet and play a larger role in the future, to deepen the collaboration between the Nordic and Baltic countries.”
She has, however, one clear recommendation to the conference organisers.
For the next 5G Techritory in 2019, the organisers must improve on gender equality. I expect to see a much better gender balance among keynote speakers, panellists and moderators