From Vision to Practice – Insights from Nordic-Baltic 5G applications across sectors

This report builds on the findings of the Nordic-Baltic 5G Monitoring Tool (N-B 5G MT) project ‘Analytical Report’, which focused on mapping 5G activities in the Nordic-Baltic region and analysing their roll-out status. In this follow-up report, we delve deeper into actual 5G applications across different verticals (i.e. sectors), including healthcare, transportation/mobility, industry and media/broadcasting.

The Nordic-Baltic region faces knowledge gaps in understanding 5G’s full economic impact, despite its role as both a service and an enabler. While there’s notable activity in sectors like transport, smart cities, and health, most 5G projects are still in the early stages, and the business case for widespread 5G deployment is not yet clear. This report examines how various sectors address these challenges and what can be learned from their experiences in advancing 5G development. 

The report identifies challenges in each sector, such as funding constraints in healthcare, technical hurdles in transportation, market immaturity in industry, and infrastructure investment needs in media, highlighting the complex landscape of 5G deployment.

The project’s key findings point to a number of cross-cutting challenges that require comprehensive attention and solutions:

  • Uncertain business cases: There is a need for empirical validation of 5G’s potential and specific benefits to encourage investment and innovation.
  • Financial barriers: Challenges include insufficient early-stage funding and high deployment costs, requiring supportive funding and regulatory frameworks.
  • Technical and infrastructural limitations: Regulatory and financial support are needed for better connectivity in rural areas.
  • Regulatory constraints: Complex requirements around spectrum allocation, licensing, data security, and privacy demand tailored regulatory frameworks and close collaboration between stakeholders.
  • Security, privacy, and ethics: These issues are closely linked to regulatory challenges and include concerns about data protection and management, GDPR compliance and cybersecurity.
  • Acceptability and usability: Efforts to simplify 5G technology for broader adoption and overcome infrastructure development resistance are essential.
  • Collaboration challenges: There is a demand to foster collaborative environments through forums, dialogue sessions, and cross-border partnerships.

Overall, the report emphasises the need for a systemic approach to addressing these challenges. This includes clarifying the business value of 5G; fostering ecosystems for collaboration; and ensuring that policy and regulatory frameworks support the innovative, equitable deployment of 5G technology. Overcoming these hurdles will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders, including governments, industry and the wider community. Only then will the transformative potential of 5G for society be fully realised.