European connected car arm wrestle swings in favour of 5G

The Byzantine European bureaucracy is trying to pick a winner between competing connected car technologies and inevitably it’s taking ages.

Back in March we reported on the GSMA’s hissy-fit after the European announced a preference for the wifi-based Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) approach to wireless networking between cars and the rest of the world. The mobile industry understandably prefers 5G-based cellular vehicle to whatever (C-V2X) technology and thinks the EC is barking up the wrong tree.

One of the few advantages of having such a bloated, multi-layered approach to running things is that every decision made by Europe has to be approved by countless parliaments, councils, committees and cabals. After a few months it was the turn of yet another of these to mull the matter over and it announced its decision this morning.

The Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union is so morbidly obese they had to split it in two and it was the duty of Coreper II to make a call on the ‘delegated act’, which is what the word of the EC gets packed up us for consumption by lesser bodies.

While there had been considerable lobbying in favour of C-V2X in the build up to the decision, it still came as a pleasant surprise to see Coreper II dare to stand up for the Commission and reject the wifi C-ITS plan. A consortium of mobile industry lobbying bodies – GSMA, GSA, ETNO and 5GAA had written at length last month about what a bad idea excluding cellular from the continent’s connected cars would be and they seem to have been rewarded.

“GSA, along with other leading mobile and automotive industry associations, believe the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems  (C-ITS) ecosystem should neither be limited by technology nor place Europe and mobile and automotive companies at a clear disadvantage to other regions of the world,” said Joe Barrett, President of GSA.

“The decision by EU Member States to reject the Delegated Act on C-ITS and request the European Commission to reconsider its scope is great news for technology neutrality and signals a positive future for connected intelligent transport systems in Europe.”

The European Commission does allow light dissent every now and then, to maintain the illusion of accountability and due process. Normal procedure when something like this happens is for the EC to make cosmetic tweaks and keep putting the matter back to the vote until it gets what it wants. On such a binary matter of whether or not to back wifi-based C-ITS, however, it’s hard to see how such a fudge will be possible, so maybe this will end up being a rare defeat for the unelected Commission.


  1. Avatar Derek Lambe 05/07/2019 @ 8:32 am

    “The European Commission does allow light dissent every now and then, to maintain the illusion of accountability and due process.”

    This article is very prejudiced and inaccurate. All legislation coming from the European Commission has to pass through the elected European Parliament and the Council (Coreper is a preparatory committee before it goes to elected member state ministers). They very often amend or reject proposals from the Commission.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 05/07/2019 @ 9:16 am

      …as I said.

      • Avatar Derek Lambe 05/07/2019 @ 2:54 pm

        No, the reality is actually very different to ‘what you said’ in your prejudiced and inaccurate article.

        • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 05/07/2019 @ 3:33 pm

          Hold on, are you trying to say the article is prejudiced and inaccurate?

          • Avatar Derek Lambe 05/07/2019 @ 5:18 pm

            Yes. Try and do better in future.

  2. Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 08/07/2019 @ 9:16 am

    I will now – thanks for the top tip.

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