"The Commission will work together with the industry to prepare a coordinated 5G action plan for the Europe," EU Digital Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said at the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, in Barcelona.

This action plan should be adopted by the end of this year and it aims to involve telecom firms as well as major players from the automotive, energy, media and energy sectors, he added.

Europe had led the competition in GSM technology – the original standard for mobile networks – in the 1990s, but fell behind the United States and Asia in the rollout of faster 4G connections.

Businesses have repeatedly called on the EU to improve the quality of its mobile communications infrastructure, saying that inadequate networks hinder job creation and growth at a time when Europe is slowly pulling itself out of recession.

The putative 5G mobile network promises better connections to cope with the ever-increasing number of mobile internet users. The EU estimates a high-definition movie could be downloaded in six seconds with the new technology, up from six minutes with 4G.

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