European Parliament Backs WiFi over 5G in Connected Cars Despite Intense Lobbying


Andjela Jovetic via European Views | The bosses of BMW and Deutsche Telekom have urged the German government to take action to block a European Commission proposal that would set a WiFi-based standard for connected cars. Despite intense lobbying, the European Parliament voted in favor of the WiFi-based technology.

Following the April 15th denial of a European Commission’s push to install WiFi technology in cars, EU lawmakers have voiced their support for switching to an alternative, 5G data standard in cars across Europe.

According to Insiders Tribune, GSMA increased their pressure on EU lawmakers to reject European Commission’s push for WiFi. The telecoms lobbying group reportedly said that WiFi is an old advancement, which won’t decrease road accidents.

Also responding to the issue were some the bosses of BMW and Deutsche Telekom. In a letter, BMW CEO Harald Krueger and Telekom’s Tim Hoettges warned that ruling out an alternative approach based on 5G mobile networks would leave Europe lagging rivals like China when it comes to the future of mobility.

“We are convinced that mandating WiFi technology will cause significant delay to the European rollout of car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication,” the CEOs said in the letter to Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.

The Commission’s preference for the WiFi-based connection and its ITS-G5 standard would give both Volkswagen and Renault an edge over BMW, Daimler, Ford, and PSA Group. The latter all use a rival 5G standard called C-V2X, which works on existing 4G LTE networks.

“C-V2X is a game-changer for safety,” an alliance of groups representing the European information technology and automotive industries said in a separate statement on Monday. Supporters of the 5G standard say that the European Commission’s push for WiFi could have consequences that are detrimental to Europe’s economic growth. BMW and others feel that fifth-generation is future proof as compared to WiFi. It has an extensive application for general navigation, traffic data, and entertainment.

The 5G standard connects to both gadgets and other cars in its surrounding environment and has “extensive” areas of application, the 5GAA lobbying group explained. The Commission’s proposed ITS-G5 WiFi-based technology, on the other hand, mainly links cars to other cars, and has limited applications outside of the automotive industry.

Despite the fact that a key committee of EU lawmakers rejected the Commission’s proposal three weeks ago, the European Parliament voted for the WiFi standard this Wednesday in a plenary session.

The European Commission sided with Volkswagen and its WiFi standard, dealing a serious blow to BMW, Qualcomm, and others endorsing 5G technology. Renault, Toyota, NXP, Autotalks, and Kapsch TrafficCom all support WiFi as the standard for connected cars while Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung have all backed 5G.

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