Orange Spain expects its 5G network to reach 90% of the population by 2022, Spanish news site Xataka Movil reported.
The operator announced the plans in a press conference following the publication of its fourth-quarter results, in which the telco revealed that it already offers 5G services in 121 cities across Spain.
Some of the cities covered by Orange’s non-standalone (NSA) 5G network include Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Zaragoza, Logroño, Leon, Santander, Salamanca, Valladolid and Pamplona.
Orange is aiming to offer this technology in 400 cities by the end of the year, which, is, equivalent to a population coverage of over 51%.
Orange Spain also said that its 5G coverage will reach 27% by the end of the first quarter of 2021 and 51% by the end of the year.
Orange also revealed that two-thirds of its 15.9 million mobile subscribers currently use 4G-LTE networks, which reach 98% of the Spanish population.
The operator launched commercial 5G services in Spain in September of 2020, using equipment provided by Swedish vendor Ericsson.
The European carrier is currently offering 5G through spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 MHz band.
Orange initially launched 5G technology in Madrid and Barcelona with the deployment of Ericsson’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) and core products and solutions. Operating on 3.6 GHz spectrum, the 5G network in Madrid and Barcelona is powered by the Ericsson Radio System (Baseband 6648 and AIR 6488 antenna), delivering massive multiple-input multiple-output, which increases network capacity and spectral efficiency.
Ericsson also supplied Orange Spain with a 5G Evolved Packet Core to support 5G New Radio non-standalone (NSA), including control plane, user plane and policy network functions.
Orange said it would launch 5G through the standalone (SA) architecture once the Spanish government makes available spectrum in the 700 MHz band, which is expected to occur in 2021.
Spain’s largest telco Telefonica’s 5G network already reaches 80% of the country’s population, according to recent Spanish press reports. In September, Telefonica had announced the launch of NSA 5G commercial services in the country.
The telco is offering its 5G service through spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 1.8-2.1 GHz bands.
Telefonica had previously inked commercial deals with European vendors Nokia and Ericsson to supply the equipment and services for its 5G launch.
Telefonica is initially deploying gear from Ericsson to provide 5G in its main urban areas, while Nokia’s equipment will be used for the deployment of 5G in an upcoming phase of the 5G deployment plan.
Meanwhile, rival operator Vodafone launched Spain’s first commercial 5G network in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Vitoria, San Sebastian, La Coruna, Vigo, Gijon, Pamplona, Logrono and Santander in June 2019. The carrier had previously said that it was working with Huawei and Ericsson in the deployment of the 5G network.
The telco’s 5G network currently reaches 21 cities across the country.
Masmovil launched 5G last year and the telco’s network currently provides this technology in 19 Spanish cities.