Sunday 25 July 2021

Spain gets Coverage Layer 5G Spectrum in 700 MHz Band

The Spanish operators just secured 700 MHz of spectrum in the auctions that just concluded. Spain's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has details here and the PDF of final results is here. TelecomTV nicely summarises the results as follows:

Spain’s auction of 700 MHz spectrum for 5G services was concluded in just one day, with the government raising little more than the minimum reserve prices for the blocks snapped up by Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone: The country’s fourth mobile operator, Másmóvil, did not participate.

Orange paid the starting price of €350 million for two blocks of 2x5 MHz spectrum. Vodafone also paid the reserve price of €350 million for its 2x10 MHz of capacity.

Only Telefónica (Movistar) paid above the minimum required: It shelled out €310.089 million for its 2x10 MHz (the starting price for that tranche had been €270 million). 

The spectrum licensed can be used for downlink and uplink connectivity, which is what the operators need for their 5G service offerings: The 700 MHz band enables operators to extend the reach of their next-gen mobile networks outdoors (so it is particularly useful for non-urban areas) and to better penetrate buildings with their 5G signals and so is attracting increasing operator investment, with China Mobile having just announced the results of its initial 700 MHz 5G radio access network equipment tender. 

In total, then, the Spanish government raised just over €1.01 billion: In the scheme of things that’s not much for the government coffers but it also isn’t sapping the operators of funds that can be used to build out their networks. Three blocks of 5 MHz spectrum that could be used only for downlink connections were not taken up by the operators and have been classified by Spain’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation as “deserted.”

5G Observatory points out:

The fourth mobile operator in terms of market share, Masmovil, opted out of the process earlier this month. Players did not bid for any of the 5MHz blocks of non-paired spectrum available and the auction did not reach the 2.1 billion EUR target set by the regulator.

All licences will be valid for a period of 20 years and extendable for a further 20-year period. The operators are obligated to activate 5G services in 450 localities with populations above 50,000 by the end of June 2025, as well as covering the country’s largest airports, train stations and motorways.

This was Spain’s second sale of 5G-suitable spectrum, following an auction covering the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz bands in 2018. A third and last 5G spectrum auction, this time in the 26GHz band, is planned to take place before the end of the year.

Source: Xataka Movil

A statement from Orange Spain is available here.

A statement from Vodafone with a summary of Spectrum they hold is available here.

A statement from Telefonica with a summary of Spectrum they hold is available here.

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