In the last year, three reasons have emerged to showcase Europe authority's leading position in cellular-enabled beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operations.

  1. EU Drone Strategy recognizes the cellular network capabilities for large-scale commercial drone operations

The European Commission recently published the "Drone Strategy 2.0: Creating a large-scale European drone market" document, and it sets out a vision for the further development of the European drone market. The study builds on the EU's safety framework, which is the world's most advanced to date, for operating and setting the technical requirements for drones. The new strategy shows how Europe can pursue large-scale commercial drone operations while offering new opportunities in the sector.

In that document, the Aerial Connectivity Joint Activity work, (a joint collaboration between GSMA and GUTMA), has been recognized as one of the key contributors to "Building the Union drone services market:”

"U-space service providers should also be able to capitalize on the existing mobile telecommunication technologies and standards, such as those resulting from the Aerial Connectivity Joint Activity, which is a collaboration by Unmanned Traffic Management and mobile communication entities aimed to promote interchange and understanding between the aviation and cellular communities, the purpose being to enhance information sharing and avoid incompatibilities between those groups."

This is a clear recognition from the European Commission of the potential of cellular network capabilities.

Learn more about the EU drone strategy here:

  1. Electronic Communication Committee’s (ECC) decision about the harmonised technical conditions for the usage of aerial UE for communications based on LTE and 5G bands

The ECC recognized that in EU countries there is a fast-growing demand to operate drones and, in particular, BVLOS use cases. This newly released document highlights that to enable these kinds of applications; there is a need for harmonised communication bands between drones and mobile/fixed communication networks.

Based on The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) analysis, the ECC decision provides harmonised technical conditions for the usage of drones for communications in the following 5G and LTE-based harmonized bands: 703-733 MHz, 832-862 MHz, 880-915 MHz, 1710-1785 MHz, 1920-1980 MHz, 2500-2570 MHz and 2570-2620 MHz.

Learn more about the ECC decision here:

  1. U-space Regulatory Package introducing the Remote ID network implies that the availability of the network is key

U-space is a set of specific services and procedures designed with high levels of digitalization and automation to ensure safe and efficient access to the airspace for numerous drones. The concept of U-space emerged to support commercial drone operations, especially those of greater complexity and automation. This is the European system being developed to manage drone traffic.

The purpose of U-space is therefore to achieve automated UAS management and integration, allowing for multiple operations, many of them even simultaneous, and all of this in harmonious coexistence with the current ATM system. Implementing this new system requires countries first to define and designate U-space airspaces. These airspaces, which will be legally mandated, guarantee safe, efficient, and interoperable operations.

Four mandatory U-space services will be established in every U-space airspace. One of them is the Network Identification Service which provides the identity of UAS operators, the location, and the trajectory of drones during operations. The required mandate to have Network Remote ID within every U-space airspace implies that connectivity must also be available and guaranteed to all drone operators within that airspace.

This is the first time such an implication has been introduced by regulation. The other U-space services will also leverage connectivity; therefore, telecommunication providers will play a central role in the successful deployment of U-space.

Learn more about Network Remote ID: