Streaming virtual reality games. Driverless cars. Super-fast downloads of movies. And billions of devices talking to each other. This is the promise of the next-generation mobile internet known as 5G.
The race to roll out 5G is on and the U.S., China and other parts of Asia appear to be taking the lead, while Europe is lagging behind.
Fragmentation in rules across the European Union's (EU) 28 member states, a lack of investment from mobile networks stemming from weak business, and continuing debate over the allocation of radio waves known as spectrum, are the key reasons for the region falling behind.
"Europe is significantly lagging China and North America when it comes to 5G commitments and deployment," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC in a recent interview.
"In the U.S., we've got intense competitive rivalry between the leading players which is accelerating investment in 5G, and in China there is absolutely no question that they see an opportunity to innovate their own 5G, which would be the first generation of technology where they could really be the undisputed leader."