Wireless Network Evolution

The Wireless Network Evolution Working Group (WNE WG) work streams cover a wide range of developments; ranging from the impact of evolving generations of mobile network technologies on markets and consumers in Europe, the use of satellite and satellite connectivity to the development of Open Radio Access Networks, through to cooperation with other competent authorities and stakeholders, most notably the Radio Spectrum Policy Group. In the context of rapid technological change, and the growing importance of end-to-end connectivity, it is vital that the regulatory practices remain fit for purpose. The WNE WG continues to analyse technological developments and their impact on sustainable competition in telecom markets. In line with the European ambition to create a Europe fit for the digital age, the WNE WG of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) contributes by identifying best practices and sharing information on the market shaping aspects of spectrum assignment which can facilitate the rollout of Very High-Capacity Networks (VHCN) and stimulate their contribution to close the digital divide.

Working Group Co-chairs

The image shows Joe Lynch, Co-chair of the BEREC Wireless Network Evolution Working Group
The image shows Sietse van der Gaast, Co-chair of the BEREC Wireless Network Evolution Working Group

Joe Lynch

ComReg, Ireland

Sietse van der Gaast

ACM, the Netherlands

(Note: This video was recorded in 2022. It may include one or more former Co-chairs).

Work in 2024

In 2024, the WNE WG will continue working on related topics based on the BEREC Work Programme 2024.

Peer review process

BEREC and the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) agreed on working arrangements on 13 June 2019. These set out the cooperation methods for BEREC’s participation in the Peer Review Forum per the requirements of Article 35 of Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Electronic Communications Code – the EECC. BEREC’s participation in the Peer Review Forum contributes to all three BEREC strategic priorities through discussions with the RSPG about the market-shaping aspects of spectrum assignment. The Peer Review Forum is convened by the RSPG only when required.

BEREC Report on the evolution of private and public 5G networks in the Europe

BEREC intends to report both on the drivers for, and requirements of, private networks and on the evolution of public networks towards meeting new user demands. To the extent that there are relevant 5G case studies to examine, relevant issues and interrelations between private and public 5G networks will be elaborated on by BEREC. The purpose will be to provide a factual overview on the extent of the use of private and public 5G networks in Europe.

BEREC external workshop about the usage of satellite technologies in mobile communications

To further BEREC’s understanding of Satellite Communications (SatCom), on 13April 2023 BEREC organised an external workshop on secure and reliable connectivity from low earth orbit (‘LEO’) satellite fleets (BoR (23) 112). The workshop gave BEREC an enhanced understanding of direct-to-device connectivity and identified some preliminary views on relevant regulatory issues which might arise. BEREC’s primary interest was to initiate discussions on the market access issues facing relevant industry stakeholders.

The observations and discussions at the BEREC workshop in 2023 lead to the conclusion that stakeholder engagement should continue in 2024, as this will further enhance BEREC’s understanding of the relevant market access issues. It is also clear that SatCom, in particular Non-geostationary SatCom networks, and related services, are evolving fast, so it is reasonable to assume that there will be additional issues to consider. Therefore during 2024, BEREC intends to hold another external workshop building on aspects of its earlier work.

Why is this important?

Wireless networks play an indispensable and crucial role in achieving connectivity, and they can be considered a VHCN in certain circumstances. Thus, wireless networks play an essential part in achieving the European Union’s connectivity goals and objectives. While 5G networks are still rolling out across Europe, its successor, 6G, is already in development. BEREC is aware that end-users are less concerned about different network types so long as they have access to high-speed, high-quality services, regardless of network mode. In this regard, heterogenous networks including satellite networks, can enable connectivity to locations where communication by other means is impossible or economically infeasible. That may be important for Universal Service, amongst other things. BEREC, therefore, must keep well informed of wireless developments through this group.