Home5G & BeyondTelefónica ends 2022 with 5G covering more than 83% of Spain’s population

    Telefónica ends 2022 with 5G covering more than 83% of Spain’s population


    Telefónica also successfully bid for double the 2.6GHz spectrum in the December auction

    Telefónica’s 5G coverage in Spain now exceeds more than 1700 municipalities and equates to coverage for more than 83% of the population.

    The operator highlights that 300% more 700MHz nodes were installed in 2022 compared with 2021 after the frequency was made available by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation last February.

    This exceeded its own coverage forecasts in the “so-called low band” which support wider coverage, including indoors, and some 5G characteristics like lower latency. Telefónica was awarded 1 block of 2×10 MHz in the 700MHz band for payment of €310.09 million.

    The municipalities with coverage range in size from 100 to more than 20,000 residents.

    Telefónica says its 700MHz band capacity perfectly complements its 3.5GHz band capacity which it has used to provide coverage to more than 300 municipalities, which saw an increase of 375% throughout 2022. The 3.5GHz-based services provide higher transmission speed, but across shorter distances and the signals are not so good at penetrating obstacles like buildings.

    Final spectrum blocks

    In December, Telefónica completed its 5G spectrum allocation by acquiring five blocks of 200MHz in the 2.6GHz band for € 20 million – winning double the spectrum of its next nearest rival at the spectrum auction.

    Still, Spain’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation only raised a total of €36.2 million from the auction, which was about 30% less than the €56 million it had initially expected. In the event, the national mobile operators only bid for nine of the 12 allocations on offer.

    The Ministry also only received one bid for the 38 regional spectrum auctions.

    The mobile operators had voiced concerns ahead of the auction that it was too soon as the 200MHz ecosytem is so immature.

    The 200 MHz will be deployed in 2023 for use cases requiring high speeds and lower latencies, in consumer and industrial sectors.  

    Javier Gutiérrez, Director of Network Strategy and Development of Telefónica Spain, comments, “In a way, we can say that we have reached “cruising speed” in the deployment of 5G in its dedicated bands”.