San Roque, Los Barrios and Tarifa have become the first three municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar in which Telefónica España has activated the 5G 700 MHz band, which will be gradually switched on in the rest of the towns in the coming weeks.
A total of 13 municipalities in the province now have this coverage. Barbate, Conil de la Frontera, Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona, El Puerto de Santa María, Puerto Real, Rota, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Torre Alháquime and Vejer de la Frontera have been added to the three towns in Campogibraltar.
Telefónica has so far switched on 5G in several towns in the 3.5 GHz band, which is ideal for services requiring very high transmission speeds, but the move to 700 MHZ is considered essential for expansion, as it allows greater reach and more powerful penetration indoors. This also enables a drastic reduction in network configuration investments.
The 5G spectrum is completed by the 26 GHz millimetre bands, intended to offer the highest speeds and capacities, albeit for limited spaces or specific high-performance deployments.
The switch-on of 700 MHz has been gradual since the government allowed 60 installations per week in the first few weeks. Likewise, operators have to communicate in advance with the towns where they are going to switch it on so that it can be verified that there is no interference with DTT and so that it can be resolved in the specific cases where it occurs.
The auction of the 700 MHz band in July 2021 was an important milestone to boost 5G deployment in Spain. Telefónica España was awarded a 2×10 MHz block for a total of 310.09 million euros. As the company explained in a statement, this has allowed the operator to consolidate its leadership in connectivity by combining the drive for 5G coverage with its extensive fibre network in Spain. Andalusia already has 95 locations covered by 700 MHz.
At lower frequencies, the signal propagates over longer distances and passes through buildings better, offering better coverage in large environments such as roads, rural areas and inside buildings.
As the government explained after the frequency tender, the promotion of 5G technology in Spain is a priority included in the Digital connectivity, boosting cybersecurity and 5G deployment component of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. The Plan foresees a public investment of €1.5 billion to accelerate its deployment and one of its reforms is the provision of priority bands to operators.
"5G technology is expected to have a major impact on the economy and job creation as it will enable the development of applications that will change the way products and services are produced, distributed and consumed. It will also be crucial for digital transformation, as it will help other technologies such as the internet of things, big data, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence to develop their full capabilities," the executive concludes.
Last March, Vodafone announced the progressive deployment of 5G in Algeciras, La Línea, San Roque, Los Barrios and Tarifa.