Riga becomes the 5G capital for the week

November 25, 2019

This week Riga, Latvia will play host to an extensive international event – the 5G Techritory Forum that simultaneously consolidates political, business and academic leaders from around the world to discuss Europe’s leadership opportunities in 5G development. As a result, Riga will also become the 5G capital of the world.


The goal of the 5G Techritory Forum is to foster collaboration among Baltic Sea Region countries. During that time, a Nordic and Baltic Sea Region digital ministers roundtable meeting will be held together with industry representatives. For the first time, a 5G policymakers’ hackathon will take place, where the results will be handed over the European Commission and the hackathon methodology, possibly, will be adopted by other countries as well. Meanwhile, during the 5G Techritory Forum, more than 80 industry representatives from around the world will share their experiences and will discuss four relevant verticals where 5G will bring significant changes – smart cities, smart mobility, Industry 4.0, and smart media and entertainment. 

According to the latest OECD data, 6 out of the top 10 countries with the most active internet users are within the Baltic Sea Region. Additionally, within the top 5, the only non-Baltic Sea Region country was Austria. Latvia takes 3rd place. The Baltic Sea Region is also home to 2 of the world’s top 3 largest mobile network manufacturers. At the same time, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden have concluded that in terms of global competition, currently, the leaders in the 5G realm are South Korea, China, and the USA. 

“Nordic and Baltic countries have good potential, however, each country currently has its own agenda that defines their priorities. A unified regional stance is required to strengthen Europe’s growth. Latvia has taken leadership, and through organising the 5G Techritory Forum, we’re multiplying the potential for European countries’ international collaboration as well as the potential for growth of Latvia’s competitiveness.” states Neils Kalniņš, programme director of the 5G Techritory Forum.  

According to data collected by the Research Institutes of Sweden, currently, there are at least 50 different 5G testbeds within the Baltic and Nordic countries. Based on information from Latvian Mobile Telephone, Latvia is home to 13 of them. One of the topics to be discussed within the framework of 5G Techritory is the cross-border use of testbeds to strengthen the region’s competency and to fuel faster growth. 

One of the challenges of the new generation technology is adapting the legal framework to the reality of rapid developments and innovations. In the context of 5G, this is especially important, because the new technology will create many new opportunities for digitalization and automatization of existing processes. This year 5G Techritory has come forth with a new method for policymakers to adapt to the rapid tempo of technology growth, where business requirements change much faster than the opportunities to adjust the laws governing them. Riga will be host to the world’s first 5G policymakers’ hackathon, organised by the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia, where policymakers, entrepreneurs, mobile network providers, and lawyers will sit down at one table. 

“5G is one of the technological achievements that has the potential to significantly change our lives. We have to create the collaboration and laws necessary that will allow us to implement new innovations to further develop our economic competitiveness globally”, emphasises Minister of Economics, Ralfs Nemiro. 

The president of Latvian Mobile Telephone, and 5G Techritory strategic partner, Juris Binde, adds: “LMT as an international GSMA and 5GAA association member participates not only in Latvia’s but also Europe’s joint process of technological development. Currently, we see that drone traffic management, 5G connected vehicles, other mobility and smart city solutions, as well as mobile network technologies for national defense, are Latvia’s most relevant 5G projects, where Latvia’s experience can be of use to other European countries.”

The chairman of the Latvian State Radio and Television Center, Edmunds Beļskis, who will be a moderator at the Baltic Sea Region digital minister and international industry representatives roundtable discussions highlights: “Nordic and Baltic countries are united not only by their leadership in mobile network technologies, but also in their joint values in the implementation of innovations. Sustainable development, personal data protection, and regional security are the cross-border interests that motivate us in collaboration.”