The Spanish government had already awarded frequencies in the 3.6 GHz-3.9 GHz range last year
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed that the government plans to auction spectrum in the 700 MHz band in the first quarter of 2019, Spanish press reported.
The 700MHz band is currently utilized for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services but will be freed up by March 2020. DTT migration is expected to start in January of next year.
According to the reports, the government aims to raise up to EUR 1.05 billion ($1.14 billion) with the 700 MHz spectrum auction.
This future tender will represent the second auction of 5G-suitable spectrum in Spain. In July 2018, the Spanish government raised a total of EUR 438 million through the sale of 5G frequencies by auctioning spectrum in the 3.6 GHz-3.8 GHz range, which will be key for the launch of commercial 5G services in the country. The government had set a reserve price of EUR 100 million for the 5G spectrum.
Spanish carriers Movistar, Orange, Vodafone all acquired 5G spectrum after 34 rounds of bidding. These carriers submitted bids for a total of 200 megahertz of spectrum, which was sold under 20-year licenses for lots of 5 megahertz at a minimum price of EUR 2.5 million each.
Orange acquired a total of 60 megahertz of spectrum for EUR 132 million. The operator already holds 40 megahertz in this band.
Telefonica, which operates in the mobile segment through its Movistar brand, purchased 50 megahertz of spectrum for EUR 107 million. The company already had 40 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band.
Meanwhile, Vodafone acquired a total of 90 megahertz for EUR 198 million.
Masmovil took part in the auction but did not acquire spectrum in the process.
Following the acquisition of this 5G spectrum, Vodafone announced the launch of 5G trials in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Malaga and Seville. Vodafone Spain also said it had already installed more than 30 antennas in collaboration with Chinese vendor Huawei in the six selected cities.
In January this year, Telefonica unveiled its 5G technological cities project, which will pave the way for the future deployment of 5G technology in Spain. Under this initiative, Telefonica partnered with European vendors Nokia and Ericsson for the initial deployment of 5G capabilities in the cities of Segovia and Talavera de la Reina.
Telefónica aims to convert the two Spanish cities into living laboratories over the next three years, with capabilities including the initial 5G capacity, the deployment of the new network and the development of use cases allowing their citizens and companies to benefit from the advantages of 5G.
Nokia will deploy 5G infrastructure in Segovia while Ericsson will focus on network deployments in Talavera de la Reina, Telefonica said.