Telefonica Activates 5G Network Using 700 MHz Spectrum In Spain


By Juan Pedro Tomás

Spanish telco Telefonica has announced the activation of 5G services using spectrum in the 700MHz band. The telco said it expects to reach 1,400 localities in Spain with this service by the end of this year.

Telefónica, which already activated its first antenna with 5G NSA in the 700 MHz band in Alcázar de San Juan last July, has fully launched 5G in the 700 MHz band after receiving the authorization by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation to activate the radio equipment using this frequency band.

In an initial phase, the new service will be offered in 700 towns and cities across the country with the goal of reaching 2,400 localities by the end of 2023.

At the moment, some of the municipalities that are already covered with Movistar’s 5G in the 700 MHz band are Almería, Alcudia, Ripoll, Rota, Madrigal de la Vera, Barbate, Azuqueca de Henares, Rota, Ocaña, Sada, Motril, Murcia , El Almendro, Andújar and Ezcaray, among others.

The Spanish government raised a total of 1.1 billion euros (US$1.23 billion) in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, with local operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange securing these key frequencies to expand 5G services. Vodafone and Orange have recently launched 5G via 700MHz frequencies in the country. The government said that each license will have a duration of 20 years, rising to a maximum of 40 years.

Telefónica currently offers 5G coverage to over 80 per cent of the Spanish population, via 5G offered through 3.5Gz spectrum. During the first half of 2021, the deployment of 5G has focused on completing coverage in the cities deployed last year and reaching cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants.

All the provincial capitals and autonomous cities, 100 per cent of the cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and 98 per cent of those with more than 20,000 inhabitants, as well as small towns in all the autonomous communities already have 5G, the Spanish telco said.

In July 2021, Telefónica officially announced its decision to award the contracts to deploy its 5G standalone radio networks across Spain to Nordic vendors Ericsson and Nokia.

The deployment of Nokia and Ericsson 5G SA networks, which is expected to occur this year, will be carried out on the 3.5 GHz and 700 MHz bands, Telefónica said.

Telefonica confirmed that the Mobile World Congress, being held this week in Barcelona, Spain, will be the first major event to feature Telefónica’s 700 MHz commercial 5G coverage, which is complemented by a special deployment of 5G in the 3.5 GHz band.

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