On Friday, Telefonica announced that it had awarded a contract for its Spanish 5G radio network to Nokia and Ericsson. In a Solomonic turn of events, the contract gives the two Scandinavian companies equal use of Telefonica’s Spanish 5G bands.
The frequencies in question are 3.5GHz and 700MHz.
Telefonica, a mobile and broadband operator, said that Nokia and Ericsson would share the bands for five years until 2026. It added that there would be no changes to each network’s geographical distribution.
A strategic move for Telefonica
The move comes as Telefonica is aiming its sights at improving its standalone 5G offering. The company’s head of Operations and Network, Joaquin Mata, said in a statement that this is a long-term contract.
Mata said that this deal is the most appropriate scenario for Telefonica since it maintains 4G providers in place, offering it stability to roll out and develop 5G.
He added that in 5G, all the providers have shown that they come prepared, saying that the company feels very comfortable having “the best technological partners.” Given what Nokia and Ericsson have achieved in the past, Telefonica should feel confident partnering with them.
Before July 21st, the 700MHz band will be up for bidding, after two cancelled auctions. Telefonica, Orange, and Vodafone have all come out, expressing interest.
The contracts include the possibility of Nokia and Ericsson expanding the current 4G services or moving to 5G bands, depending on what they feel is best.
Telefonica currently offers 5G in Spain to 80% of the population, with more than 37 million inhabitants in 1,253 municipalities covered. After launching 5G in Spain in September 2020, Telefonica reached coverage of 76% of the population in only three months, an impressive pace, given the pandemic’s restrictions.