News2020.05.28 10:30

Lithuania sets guidelines for 5G development

BNS 2020.05.28 10:30

Lithuania's government has endorsed a draft 5G development plan, calling for the technology to be rolled out in at least one city by 2022 and cover most of the country's populated areas by 2025.

Under the previsional guidelines approved on Wednesday, a 5G network should be launched in at least one of Lithuania’s five biggest towns – Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai or Panevėžys – by 2022 and be available in all of them by 2023.

By 2025, the 5G network should cover all urban territories, international land transport corridors (Via Baltica, Rail Baltica) and other highways, main railway lines, airports and seaports.

Read more: Baltics caught between superpowers in China's 5G battle – Investigation

The government seeks to establish a legal base to regulate the development of 5G in Lithuania, according to the country’s Transport Minister Jeroslav Narkevič.

The state should have “leverage” over regulation and should be able to control and supervise the “gradual development” of the infrastructure, he said.

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s top diplomat, Linas Linkevičius, said the foreign ministry should also be involved due to the political implications of building the infrastructure.

Lithuania plans to sign a memorandum on 5G with the United States, according to Linkevičius.

Read more: Latvia signs 5G declaration with US to sideline China

The use of Chinese technology has been a contentious issue, with the US urging its allies to ban companies like Huawei from their networks.

According to the draft guidelines, Lithuania should launch the rollout of the 5G technology next year. Meanwhile this year, the country should assign radio frequencies and announce a 5G-related spectrum auction.

Read more: Lithuania ready for 5G, but only Chinese companies ‘can provide full package’

The Communications Regulatory Authority told BNS that it was holding talks with Russia on frequency bands. It will be clear in August whether the auction can be held this year, it added.

The Russian military is now using the 3.5 GHz frequency for its radars in Kaliningrad and the signal seeps into parts of Lithuanian territory.

“Our main task before the auctions start is to agree with Belarusian and Russian telecommunication authorities on the terms of use of radio frequency bands we are planning to auction,” Augutis Čėsna from the Lithuanian telecommunications regulator said in 2019.

Read more: Russian military a barrier to 5G development in Lithuania

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