Telefonica Spain is unlikely to announce the commercial launch of 5G services prior to 2020 since any equipment used would have to be changed and the operator would be unable to negotiate prices, according to the company’s network and IT infrastructure strategy director Javier Gutierrez. “If someone takes the plunge… and starts deploying 5G next year, they will have to do so via pre-commercial technology that will surely need to be updated at a software and possibly equipment level,” said Gutierrez in an interview with news agency EFE.
Telefonica has started receiving “very rudimentary” equipment to carry out initial field trials with a view to launching commercial services in 2020, added Gutierrez. So far, Spain’s Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda has proposed to make available spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band with a view to giving each operator access to “a sufficient amount of spectrum to take advantage of the potential of 5G technology.” However, Gutierrez specified that a national deployment won’t be possible until spectrum is made available in the 700 MHz band. “Providing national coverage via the 3.5 GHz band alone would be would be unfeasible and wouldn’t make any sense,” he said.