"The digital transformation of the country is one of my two main priorities. In fact, it is fully in line with the ambitions that have been set in the framework of the Recovery Fund," stressed Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during today's working meeting on 5G mobile networks that was attended by senior executives of the Deutsche Telekom Group OTE.
Mitsotakis stressed that 5G is a step in the digital future of the country and is happening the day after the auction of frequencies for the fifth generation networks was completed. "It is a process that brought 372 million euros to public coffers. It was done within 12 months. It required a lot of prerequisite actions, which took place in the midst of a pandemic and this way the state, businesses and citizens gain access to new opportunities that only high technology can offer ", he added.
"Almost the entire range of available frequencies was auctioned, but a part of them was retained, to be given free of charge to universities, start-ups, creative centers. The improvement of daily life and economic activity is combined with boosting innovation and entrepreneurship," he said.
He also stressed that 25% of the fees paid by 5G providers will go to the "Phaistos" fund, which in turn will finance start-ups with applications and services based on the new networks.
"We want to create in our country an ecosystem around 5G. I believe, we have the minds, the talent that can do this," said Mitsotakis and added: "We want to turn Greece into a destination from where people will work, will retire. And connectivity plays a key role in this overall project. "
The Prime Minister emphasized the existence - for the first time - of a digital bible, which is essentially all the major infrastructure projects that will allow the digitalization of the state and the economy.
"We want to encourage more people to come to Greece, not only to visit it, but to work from Greece. But to be able to do that, we need strong networks that will ensure connectivity. This is of double importance, not only for the population of Greece. We want to turn Greece into a destination from where people will work, retire. Connectivity also plays a key role in this overall design. We have proved that despite the limitations of the existing network, we were able to provide digital services to all citizens who needed them," said Mitsotakis.
Deutsche Telekom Group CEO Tim Höttges said that 5G is important because it gives us access to a new way of connecting and interconnecting, and stressed that Europe's first network operated in Germany, the second in Austria and now the third in Greece. He thanked the Prime Minister for "the extraordinary speed you have shown in the process of auctioning the spectrum" because, as he said, "for us the spectrum is our real estate on which our houses are built. And without these properties we could not have 5G. Therefore, spectrum is very important to us. Deutsche Telekom invests 17 billion euros annually and we are investing 500 million in infrastructure in Greece alone.”
Under the terms of the 5G licenses, telecommunications providers need to provide access to 5G services to at least 60% of the population by 2023. This percentage rises to 94% over the next six years, and as part of the government's strategy for balanced infrastructure development, 42 remote areas will also be covered.