The Small Cell Forum (SCF) has welcomed a report calling for more urgency and innovation in the development of Europe’s communications infrastructure. According to a new report from Rethink Technology Research, fragmented regulation and the need for greater urgency from larger MNOs mean Europe is currently falling well behind North America and the larger Asian economies in the densification of mobile networks.

The result, the report argues, means European networks will be ill-prepared for some of the key 5G-enabled use cases, such as industrial IoT and smart cities. That, in turn, risks making the EU less able to compete on the world stage.

Based on a survey of the deployment plans of European operators, as the region evolves from 4G to 5G, the report’s findings are supported by a number of distinguished analysts.

Caroline Gabriel, Rethink’s Research Director, said: “One reason Europe is falling behind is that regulations and processes surrounding sites, power levels and equipment approvals have for some time been too rigid, lengthy and fragmented to encourage mass-scale roll-out.

“This report is saying that Europe doesn’t need to lose out economically or in terms of service provision. If regulators are willing to create a flexible, open framework for small cell deployments, other players will be able to harness densification to fill the gap left by the large operators. In that way, Europe could catch up quickly in 5G use cases which require dense networks – even if the main providers monetizing the new services are not the traditional MNOs.”

David Orloff, Chair, Small Cell Forum, said: “This report’s findings reflect many of the barriers SCF has been working to resolve. Recognizing the growing potential in Europe to accelerate densification, SCF is holding a Densification Summit in Sophia Antipolis, France. This event will bring together a number of leading industry bodies and we’ll be considering how our activities in other regions can be adapted to fit the specifics of the European market.”

The EU Densification Summit will take place at ETSI HQ in Sophia Antipolis, April 24 – 26 2018.

The SCF works to accelerate densification by collaborating with a range of industry association partners, ensuring needs are represented and specialist knowledge is made available. It has recently held events in US and India to work with xRAN, ONAP, ETSI, GSMA, NGMN, CTIA, MEF, TIA, 3GPP and CBRS Alliance.