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Spain opts out of the 5G race to deliver super-fast connectivity

Energy and Digital Agenda Minister says no date is set for rolling out the next-generation technology

5G technology will provide much faster upload and download speeds.
5G technology will provide much faster upload and download speeds.

Spain will not be joining the race to deploy 5G, the fifth-generation mobile network standard that the world’s most developed nations are trying to roll out as soon as possible.

As mobile data use continues to grow, countries are keen to adopt this next-generation technology that multiplies by 250 the speed of today’s 4G connections.

The goal is for Spain to always have the best digital infrastructure

Digital Agenda Minister Álvaro Nadal

But Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda Minister Álvaro Nadal said on Monday in Santander that there is no planned date for Spain to deliver this new technology, and that the government’s priority for now is to deploy 4G and fixed broadband connectivity across the entire territory, where 30% of the population still lacks this technology.

For the time being, the government will let Spanish operators carry out 5G tests on the 3.5GHz bandwidth, said the minister. But Nadal added that it is too soon to talk about auctioning off the frequencies that will carry the new services.

So far, the only official move in connection with 5G is a €570,000 government appropriation to analyze the benefits of freeing up the 700 Mhz bandwidth for 5G use.

Although the European Union has yet to set a calendar for the start of 5G, 2020 is being viewed as a likely date

When the new technology does become commercially available, DTT television stations will have to switch frequencies, just like they did when they embraced 4G. This will force customers to retune their sets.

Although the European Union has yet to set a calendar for the start of 5G, the year 2020 is being viewed as a likely date. But there is still no common standard for all operators, or even a defined bandwidth, noted Nadal.

“Without an international standard you can’t carry out a complete deployment, but you can make progress with what you’ve got,” he said, adding that the government’s goal is “for Spain to always have the best digital infrastructure.”

South Korea, Singapore and Japan are racing to be the first countries to roll out 5G, which could be commercially available by 2019.

5G technology delivers much faster upload and download speeds, reduces the response times of any remotely activated device, and expands the number of devices that can connect to the internet at the same time. It is also expected to reduce energy consumption and increase battery life.

English version by Susana Urra.

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