Spain plans to open up mmWave 5G with 26 GHz band assignments

The Spanish government published the new radio spectrum plan, implementing the latest decisions by the ITU, EU and other standards bodies, including the process to auction more spectrum for 5G mobile services in the country.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation said the updated CNAF prepares the way for releasing the 26 GHz band for 5G services and reserves spectrum for private mobile networks. It also updates the conditions of use for several wireless applications, such as intelligent transport systems and traffic information, and medical implants.

“The 26 GHz band is appropriate for the provision of electronic communications services, and also for multiple use cases of low coverage, high capacity and low latency, such as the specific coverage of areas with high traffic density, industrial applications, gaming , augmented reality or the transport sector ”, the ministry said in a statement.

As such, it noted that this consultation process is the previous step before launching the auction process to award the 26GHz band, which will take place in the second half of 2022.

“Making this band available to the sector will serve as a stimulus for the implementation and development of 5G technology in Spain and it is a measure included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan”, the ministry added.

The Spanish government raised a total of $1.24 billion in the 700 MHz spectrum auction in July 2021, with local operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange securing these key frequencies to expand 5G services.

On its side, the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs detailed that the government raised around 16 million dollars above the starting price, whilst the government also confirmed that each license will have a duration of 20 years, rising to a maximum of 40 years.

It is worth mentioning that the 700 MHz spectrum tender process was divided into two blocks of 2×10 megahertz and three of 5 megahertz, consisting of a total 12 rounds of bidding, which was contested by the country’s three major operators after local operator Masmovil decided not to take part in the process.

For example, Vodafone Spain said it spent a total of 350 million euros on 2×10 megahertz blocks, which will be paid in a single installment, in addition to a licensing fee of 15.5 million euros payable each year. The operator said it would use the new frequencies to expand its 5G footprint and offer better coverage, including indoors.