By Andris Breške, Manager of RIGA COMM


While we are following the global conflicts over trade and technology (trade war or tech war) between US and China, publicly loudest story about the US ban on Huawei, the industry players are continuing to invest and develop new generation technologies without fear about a global recession. We see how financial and economic experts are talking about recession more frequently indicating bad numbers at the stock market and largest economies.

But I want to indicate that technological development is more about taking the lead in the next decades, so we see and will see how governments, companies and global organizations are competing and investing an impressive amount of money. One of trend and key dispute are about 5G (the next and the fifth generation of wireless technology) rollout. It will be the nation’s and business-critical infrastructure, connecting to high-speed and high-capacity networks to our valuable and important physical and virtual assets, from buildings, utility grids, industrial things, cars and also our personal devices.

In my article, the numbers are from reports and public information without references for this time. They can change and be more accurate. For myself and you, it’s for general insight.



European Union has invested in 5G research more than EUR 350 million through public-private partnerships and plan within the Horizon 2020 Programme to realize EUR 700 million. Each European country has its own strategies and investment plans. For example, the Germany government dedicated EUR 100 billion to 5G infrastructure that goes together with its next industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) plans and programmes. The UK government has redirected EUR 670 billion in national infrastructure and from it around EUR 8 billion goes especially for 5G. Finland has a good background thanks to Nokia and we can think that the Finnish government’s one of the steps for 5G development was its around EUR 844 million investment by acquiring 3,3 % of Nokia. Can this help Europe to be at the forefront of the global competition?


United States

US government to accelerate development and deployment of 5G will spend EUR 1,15 trillion, but this granted bill not guaranteed the win in the global race to 5G. As it needs to go together with clear a strategy for and from all the stakeholders. US wireless industry plans is to invest EUR 250 billion to deploy a 5G network. In the same time, US establish a fund of EUR 18 billion for high-speed broadband networks in rural areas and that will support 5G rollout there in the next ten years.



Taiwan government has approved a budget of EUR 600 million on 5G development. But if we talk about strategy and its execution, then need to highlight South Korea with its government investment EUR 23 billion to establish a full-fledged 5G environment by 2022. Where government’s plan local MNO’s (mobile network operators) – SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT – actively execute, building a network and offering data plans for early users already. As well as Samsung here with its 5G phone plays an important role.

Can state-owned wireless operators with government speed up 5G network deployment? Definitely, that we see in China. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom will be the first which will get 5G licenses. Investment numbers are up to EUR 400 billion in the coming years. While Japan’s government will support EUR 13 billion investment plans of MNO’s NTT Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank and Rakuten. A good example of how four providers are cooperating together and with government support to build 5G infrastructure not only in big cities but also in rural regions. Price competition is expected in any case, so for me would be interesting to know how will they divide investment volumes.



Similar talks are coming from the Russian government that could be created a single 5G infrastructure operator with close to EUR 1 billion investment by four MNO’s – MTS, Beeline, Tele2 and Megafon. If so, then what means MTS and Huawei agreement to develop 5G in this country? Russia has investment programme “National Projects (2018-2024)”, but how much of EUR 20 billion planned digital infrastructure programme is with focus on high-speed transmission projects isn’t known, at least I didn’t find.


Latin America

Latin America countries like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia are also proactively exploring 5G capabilities, but in this region, MNO’s are more important to provide stable current 4G network and recover its investment costs. But 5G trialling is and will be in partnership between government’s, telecommunication companies and technology developers.


By investment volumes of governments and market players, we can make predictions who will dominate in the 5G global race. Asia is moving with the top gear and ambitions is extremely high for 5G. For them, an advantage is its manufacturers that invest heavily in research thinking about this new generation network technology.


At the end I want to indicate on while telecom operators seek to compensate their massive investments on 4G LTE standard infrastructure, in Finland, China and South Korea researches are trying to identify and discuss the 6G generation. But the industry doesn’t want to talk about 6G while still being formed understanding and business models how to make money from 5G. More than ever before, smart long-term decisions and short-term flexibility will help to survive telecom companies in rapid growing cross-industry technology business jungle.


Visit the RIGA COMM 2019 Internet of Things Conference on 10 October and join 5G Techritory Forum discussion on 5G development.

Follow the news of the conference at

And be aware of Baltic Sea Region 5G Ecosystem Forum “5G Techritory”-

The Internet of Things, the use of Big Data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data transmission development nowadays significantly impact the daily lives of human beings and foster innovations in almost every field. At the beginning of the year, the organisers of the Baltic Business Technology Fair and Conference RIGA COMM invited industry experts and speakers of the previous years to evaluate the technological development and forecast the trends of 2019. We offer you to take a look at a few of them!

Everyone is welcome to discuss the recent developments in the field in what is already the 8th Baltic Business Technology Fair and Conference RIGA COMM 2019, which will take place on 10 and 11 October.

5G Internet promotes digitalisation in all sectors; opportunity for Latvia to take the lead

Manufacturers are promising to offer the first 5G devices already this year, and Latvian telecommunications operators are also planning to develop the first 5G networks this year. Aleksandrs Sigajevs, Manager of Innovative Solutions at Latvian Mobile Telephone, points out that the next generation 5G mobile network will not simply mean even faster internet: “It is designed as a very stable wireless internet connection with a very low delay so that it can be relied on in automated production facilities, in unmanned cars driving in the traffic, and by patients receiving remote medical aid.” A. Sigajevs points out that 5G will promote digitisation in virtually every industry, and that Latvia has all the technological advantages, as well as the smart people needed to become a leader.

Artificial intelligence will also operate in Latvian

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning allows organisations that have a lot of data to use them more efficiently: for financial institutions – to assess the risks associated with clients and transactions; for commercial companies – to customise their offer according to customer preferences; for doctors – to make a more accurate diagnosis and to choose the most appropriate treatment approach. For successful development of the field in Latvia, solutions in machine translation from/to Latvian, speech recognition and speech synthesis are needed. The company Tilde has already developed the most important artificial intelligence technologies for the Latvian language, and this year they are planned to be implemented in various solutions. Andrejs Vasiļjevs, Head of the company, promises that we will meet more and more virtual assistants speaking Latvian in customer support, eliminating the need to call an operator.

Aldis Ērglis, Head of the Machine Learning Laboratory at Emergn, points to the new challenges related to the industry that all global specialists face: “There are highly developed artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions for cases when a lot of data is available, so it was possible to create solutions with highly precise results, such as in image recognition or in the creation of recommendations for online stores and social networks. In 2019, one of the challenges will be creating solutions that can achieve high accuracy, even with a small amount of data.”

New challenges in cybersecurity from individual to national security

As technologies evolve, more and more opportunities arise for wrong-doers in cyberspace. Individuals and entrepreneurs need to be aware that it is no longer possible to protect their data and the IT systems of the company with the protection tools used so far – antiviruses, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, etc.

Andris Soroka, Executive Director of Data Security Solutions points out that “In 2019, in the field of cybersecurity, from the “dark side” we will witness IoT-based attacks, a competition between automatic attack tools equipped with AI and protection systems equipped with AI, incidents caused by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), geopolitical incidents within the digital space and information wars, as well as increasingly sophisticated targeted attacks, identity theft and global data leaks.”

Kirils Solovjovs, the leading researcher and IT security expert at also points out that entrepreneurs continue to adjust their behaviour to the General Data Protection Regulation. “In recent years, entrepreneurs have been tempted to collect data about their customers, even if data collection is not profitable (yet). However, this year’s data leaks caused by hackers and computer viruses will encourage the storage of only the necessary data.

State-sponsored cyberattacks are no less important to remember – China is still actively interested in opportunities for industrial espionage, and some experts have already named the hostile activities of Russia in the cyberspace of Latvia and other European countries a new “cold war””.

Business process automation will also improve the efficiency of medium and small businesses

Business Process Automation (BPA) allows one to reduce manual, time-consuming and costly tasks within a company and to replace them with automated processes that run faster and reduce operating costs. BPA allows organisations and professionals to do more meaningful and significant work, rather than devoting resources to tasks that are repetitive and monotonous. Maksims Jegorovs, Head of Accenture in Latvia predicts that this year, it will be the medium and small business sector which will focus more on data analysis and research: “There is still great potential in the field of data efficiency and use. There are some examples in this field, but the potential has not been reached, as the power of the data is valued more highly by large companies”.

Blockchain bubble has burst; solutions to real problems are expected

“The so-called Initial Coin Offering bubble has burst, and most of the counterfeit projects have died out, leaving only those projects that create real value,” says Konstantins Vasilenko, co-founder of Latvian Blockchain Association and, and Executive Director of This year, the people employed in the industry, including in Latvia, will focus on the use of blockchain technology in real sectors and will try to solve real-life problems with blockchain technology. The University of Latvia’s Blockchain Pre-Accelerator is planning to bring in a second group of participants this year and to help young people create blockchain start-ups that will bring added value.

Latvian scientists are looking for practical applications of quantum computing

Quantum computing is becoming a field in which significant resources are invested. For example, this year Google announced the creation of a quantum computer with 72 quantum bits, nearing the line beyond which quantum computers will no longer be able to be modelled, even on the most powerful traditional computer. Andris Ambainis, Head of the Quantum Computer Science Centre of the Faculty of Computing of the University of Latvia states that the most topical issue for Latvian scientists is – what can be calculated using these devices: “This issue is particularly topical for medium-sized, noisy quantum computers that do not reach the capacity of a full-fledged quantum computer, but can surpass any traditional computer in solving specific tasks, and which will be available in the coming years.”

The RIGA COMM fair is organised by the International Exhibition Company BT 1.

RIGA COMM 2019 Fintech Conference
RIGA COMM 2019 Internet of Things Conference
RIGA COMM 2019 Digital Marketing Stage
RIGA COMM 2019 Cognizant Future of Work Stage