5G: far more opportunities than threats

Finland has been at the forefront of the development and deployment of new mobile technology. We have over nine million mobile subscriptions, and we use more mobile data than any other nation. This shows that Finns are a mobile people.

Finland’s bold and open-minded policy on radio spectra has enabled technology to develop and encouraged telecoms operators to make substantial investments. The Finnish telecoms sector invests more than half a billion euros in communication networks every year.

Thanks to these investments, almost every household in Finland is covered by the 4G network, and construction of 5G networks is well underway. The first 5G bands were auctioned in Finland over a year ago. DNA, Elisa and Telia began building their fifth-generation networks at the start of this year, beginning in Finland’s largest towns and cities. 5G networks have already gone live in 13 cities, and the network’s coverage is expanding at an accelerating rate.

Finland among the trailblazers

Finland is one of the pioneers of the 5G network on an international scale. In Europe, commercial 5G networks have also been opened in Switzerland, the UK and Spain. Outside Europe, countries with 5G networks include South Korea and the United States.

In line with the digital infrastructure strategy prepared by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, permits to operate in the next 5G band – the 26 GHz band – will be granted in Finland in spring 2020.

Many benefits

Alongside consumers, 5G technology will be especially beneficial to businesses. 5G will help companies to optimise various functions and save on costs, energy and the environment. 5G technology will give rise to new business models and new types of jobs.

The networks are very fast and operate with no latency, enabling new concepts such as smart cities and smart transport. The power of 5G will also contribute to uses such as online gaming, which will boost the popularity of e-sports.

Is 5G secure?

5G technology differs from the technology used in previous mobile networks, and this will call for a new approach to risk management and create new information security demands. In part, the emphasis on cyber security is due to the increasing number of critical services in society, such as the power grid, health care and transport, becoming dependent on the functionality of telecommunication networks.

However, Finland has a high standard of cyber security by international comparison, and it has made preparations for security threats. This is the product of long-term work by the authorities and private-sector operators. In particular, Finnish telecoms companies have played a key role in this.

Companies in the sector take threats into consideration and prepare themselves in a variety of ways, and this includes making preparations as a part of their normal business activities. They constantly strive to improve – ensuring good cyber security is an on-going job.

The development and deployment of new technology is a prerequisite for the advancement of society. There is no need to pull on the handbrake: scaremongering will only serve to constrain the pioneering nature of Finland’s secure digital economy.

Marko Lahtinen is Legal Affairs Manager in FiCom

Follow Marko on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MPLahtinen