Spanish operator Orange is already offering 5G services in 840 towns and cities in 38 provinces across the country, the carrier said in a statement.
According to the European operator, its 5G network infrastructure already reaches 58.6% of the Spanish population.
Orange had said it expects its 5G network to reach 1,500 localities by the end of this year.
Earlier this month, Orange announced its deployment of 5G in the 700 MHz band. The European carrier said it will offer this technology progressively over the course of 2022 in more than 1,100 towns and cities, 820 of them having between 1,000 and 50,000 citizens.
Also, 140 towns with fewer than 1,000 citizens, in 30 provinces will benefit from the new technology, helping to reduce the digital divide. Additionally, Orange says it will deploy 5G using spectrum in the 700 MHz band in 140 cities with more than 50,000 citizens.
In the last spectrum auction, Orange secured 2×10 megahertz in the 700 MHz band, which adds to the 110 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band already owned by Orange. The company invested a total of 523 million euros (currently $585 million) in the acquisition of these frequencies.
According to Orange’s latest financial results, the carrier ended last year with 886,000 customers in the 5G segment.
The operator launched commercial 5G services in Spain in September of 2020, using equipment provided by Swedish vendor Ericsson. 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.
The European carrier had initially launched this technology through spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 MHz band using a non-standalone architecture. Orange said it would launch 5G through the standalone (SA) architecture once the Spanish government makes available spectrum in the 700 MHz band, which occurred in July 2021.
The Spanish government raised a total of 1.1 billion euros in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, with local operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange securing these key frequencies to expand 5G services.
The government said that each license will have a duration of 20 years, rising to a maximum of 40 years.