The deployment of the fifth generation of mobile networks is no longer a thing of the future, but a reality in the now that must be seized by any telco with the desire to stay relevant in our fast-changing world.
Providers are racing to claim the equipment and spectrum necessary to connect their customers the 5G way.
After launching their 5G network in September 2020, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has expanded their 5G coverage to encompass over 80 percent of the country’s population, 37 million people, by the end of Q1 of 2021, with 4300 nodes reaching 1253 towns and cities across the country.
Using a network that combines 5G NSA and DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing), the telco focused on complete coverage of major cities were nodes were deployed last year, reaching cities with 20,000 inhabitants and above.
5G SA networks are expected to see deployment when the technology is standardized and fully available. The telco is currently offering their coverage through 3.5 GHz and 1.8-2.1 GHz bands, previously signing deals with Nordic companies Nokia and Ericson to acquire the necessary equipment.
The Spanish government is expected to award spectrum in 700 MHz band to provide 5G coverage by the end of Q1 2021.
Telefonica’s rival operator, Orange, is already providing their 5G services in 298 towns and cities in 38 provinces, covering around 23 percent of the population, and aim to reach 90 percent by 2022.
Orange also began deployment in 2020, using equipment acquired by vendor Ericson.
Some of Orange’s NSA networks are currently covering Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Cadiz, Ibiza, Malaga, Leon, Santander, Salamanca, Valladolid, Pamplona, Zaragoza, and Logroño.
Through the use of both NSA and DSS technologies, Orange aims to offer their technology in 400 cities in total, which would amount to reaching just over 50 percent of the population, by the end of the year.
Vodafone is working with Ericson, in addition to Huawei, in deploying their 5G networks. They were the first to launch commercial 5G network across numerous cities, which include Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Vitoria, San Sebastian, La Coruna, Vigo, Gijon, Pamplona, Logrono, and Santander in June 2019.
Masmovil in the meantime is offering their 5G services in over 200 towns and cities in 35 provinces across spain through their Yoigo brand.
The cities in which they are providing their services include Alicante, Alcobendas, Almería, Ávila, Barcelona, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Huesca, Jaén, Madrid, Málaga, Melilla, Orense, Salamanca, Sevilla and Valencia.
Masmovil is offering 80 megahurtz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band through their own infrastructure and partnerships with Orange.
The 5G landscape is shifting wildly, with Telefonica at the lead in Spain, but followed closely at the heels by their rivals. Through partnerships, deals and acquisitions, 100 percent 5G coverage in Spain may become a reality in no time at all.