BRUSSELS: European Union nations on Thursday voted against the EU executive’s proposal for a wifi-based car standard in a blow to its backer Volkswagen, an EU official said.
Twenty one countries – including Germany, France and Italy which have powerful auto industries – voted against the proposal at a meeting of EU representatives in Brussels of the bloc’s 28 member states, the official said.
EU lawmakers in April endorsed the wifi plan over 5G technology promoted by BMW and Qualcomm.
The executive European Commision wants to set benchmarks for internet connected cars, a market that could generate billions of euros in revenues for carmakers, telecoms operators and equipment makers, according to analysts.
The issue has split the auto and tech industries and triggered fierce lobbying from both sides seeking a share of a potentially lucrative market.
Wifi technology supporters also include Renault, Toyota, NXP, Autotalks and Kapsch TrafficCom. The technology primarily connects cars to other cars.
5G backers include Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung.
Fifth generation, or 5G, standard hooks up to both cars and devices in the surrounding environment, with a wider range of applications in areas such as entertainment, traffic data and general navigation.
The Commission has defended its stance on wifi technology, saying it is available, unlike 5G, and would help to boost road safety.
Critics have said a requirement that new technologies be modified to be compatible with older technology is unrealistic and would put a brake on innovation.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Mark Potter)
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