Spain Kicks Off Process to Award 5G Spectrum

The country’s four leading operators, Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Masmovil, will bid for a total of 200 megahertz of 5G spectrum, which will be sold under 20-year licenses for lots of 5 megahertz at a minimum price of EUR 2.5 million ($2.9 million) each.

The Spanish government said that it will auction a total of 40 blocks of 5 megahertz each.

The maximum limit of frequencies available to a single operator in this 5G band band was set at 120 megahertz. Participating mobile operators said the terms and the conditions of the process were reasonable.

“This is the first step in the deployment of necessary networks for the development of 5G systems, which will situate Spain among the most advanced countries in terms of 5G technology,” the ministry said in a statement.

Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica, which operates in the mobile segment through its Movistar unit, recently said it is unlikely to announce the commercial launch of 5G services prior to 2020 since any equipment used would have to be changed and the operator would be unable to negotiate satisfactory prices.

“If someone starts deploying 5G next year, they will have to do so via pre-commercial technology that will surely need to be updated at a software level and will also probably to change equipment later level,” Spanish press reported the company’s network and IT infrastructure strategy director Javier Gutierrez as saying.

The executive also said that they will have “very rudimentary” 5G equipment to make some field trials this year. “We will receive a little more mature 5G equipment next year,” the executive said. “We will be able to know what equipment we want to buy towards a commercial deployment in 2020. We do not see a commercial deployment before 2020,” he stressed.

In January this year, Telefonica unveiled its 5G technological cities project, which will pave the way for the future deployment of 5G technology in Spain. Under this initiative, Telefonica has partnered with European vendors Nokia and Ericsson for the initial deployment of 5G capabilities in the cities of Segovia and Talavera de la Reina.

Telefónica aims to convert the two Spanish cities into living laboratories over the next three years, with capabilities including the initial 5G capacity, the deployment of the new network and the development of use cases allowing their citizens and companies to benefit from the advantages of 5G.

Nokia will deploy 5G infrastructure in Segovia while Ericsson will focus on network deployments in Talavera de la Reina, Telefonica said.

The Spanish operator said these two initial deployments will allow it to adapt its systems for the future rollout of 5G systems across the rest of the country.

In 2017, Spanish operator Orange and Ericsson have conducted a 5G trial in real-world, outdoor surroundings in Spain.

During the 5G trial, the two companies said they have reached speeds of 12 Gbps to 17 Gbps at street level.

The trial was conducted outside Ericsson’s Spanish headquarters in downtown Madrid, with the companies using a 5G base station weighing 300 kilograms as well as multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) and beamforming technology to simulate customer experience at street level.

In order to carry out this 5G test, the Spanish government granted temporary permission for the companies to use an 800 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. – RCR Wireless

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