A legal battle over the use of 5G technology in vehicles across Europe has resulted in a big win for Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM). European Union member states have elected to scrap new rules mandating Wi-Fi technology as the basis for how future connected cars talk to each other. The winners are likely to be the vendors of 5G modems such as Qualcomm.
Legislation from the European Commission, called Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), aimed to govern how future connected and automated cars in Europe send information between vehicles and infrastructure. In the act, the European Union preferred a WiFi-based technology called WiFi 802.11p. In November 2018, Qualcomm and some other large firms that support Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) mentioned the advantages of C-V2X over wireless technology and urged a change in the decision.
Qualcomm and its business allies urged European Union legislators to revoke WiFi standards as it would force them to make additional investments for a technology which will soon be out-of-date. They claimed that it was vital for the automotive industry to have the freedom to adopt a range of technologies for Internet-connected cars. A similar argument was made by trade associations through a letter to all 28 European Union member states.
The decision by representatives of the EU’s member states still needs to be approved by its ministers, but is already being seen as a victory for 5G technology. The ultra-fast 5G wireless networks are expected to power everything from self-driving cars to smart factories. Several countries are currently preparing for the initial rollout of their 5G networks. Qualcomm is one of the largest manufacturers of wireless chipset and has been working hard to retain its leadership in 5G, chipset market and mobile connectivity.