Spain to allow the use of the 26GHz band for 5G private networks

The government has indicated that this is part of its plan to promote 5G technology in Spain

The Council of Ministers in Spain has approved a decree, which modifies the regulation on the use of public radioelectric domain and allows the reorganization of the 26 GHz band, enabling it to be used by industrial companies for private networks.

In a statement, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation noted that the regulatory change establishes that a portion of the 26 GHz band will be granted without the need of a bidding process and opens the way for it to be used for industrial use—at reduced scope, on a “self-service” basis.

“This modification means taking a further step towards the creation of private 5G networks for the automation of factories and production centers”, the ministry said.

In addition, the ministry indicated that this modification of the regulation is part of the government’s plan to promote 5G technology in the country, which is aligned with the objectives established in the Recovery Plan and the Digital Spain 2026 Agenda.

Local newspaper Cinco Dias said that ministry sources explained that the blocks to be awarded are those that were decided to be reserved for self-provision; 450 megahertz had been reserved for this purpose and was not awarded in an auction in December.

Last month, local operators Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone secured additional spectrum to expand 5G services after the government completed a tender to award frequencies in the 26 GHz band.

Telefónica secured 1 gigahertz of spectrum for a total of 20 million euros ($21.1 million), while Orange and Vodafone have obtained 400 megahertz for 8 million euros each.

Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange bid for nine concessions at the state level, for a total of 1,800 MHz. At the regional level, local carrier Globe Operator Telecom had bid for a concession in Castilla-León region.

The Spanish government confirmed it raised a total of 36.2 million euros in the auction. The concessions will have a duration of 20 years, extendable only once for another 20 years.

The government was inititially expecting to award a total of 12 national concessions in the 25.10-27.50 GHz band, and 38 regional concessions in the 24.70-25.10 GHz band.

The starting price of each national concession had been set at 4 million euros.

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 Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs had said that each 700 MHz license will have a duration of 20 years, rising to a maximum of 40 years.

Spanish operators have already launched 5G services through spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, which was awarded in 2018.

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