Orange has announced what it claims is the largest 5G network deployment plan on the 700 MHz frequency band in Spain.
The telco regards the 700 MHz frequency band as essential in obtaining the greatest advantages of a 5G network and boosting economic recovery through digital transformation. This band is seen as key to enabling ultra-low latency services and allowing the implementation of massive IoT (mIoT), massive machine-to-machine communications, and Orange sees it as the fulcrum to its plan to reduce the territorial digital divide in Spain.
In the last spectrum auction, Orange, which aims to offer the fastest 5G network in Spain, obtained 2x10MHz in the 700MHz frequency band, consolidating its position as the operator with the largest amount of spectrum in the two priority bands for 5G technology, since Orange also has 110 MHz in the 3.5 GHz frequency band. The company has invested a total of €523m in the acquisition of its spectrum frequencies.
In September 2021, Orange switched on its first 700 MHz 5G node at the facilities of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, to provide service to the 5G National Plan use cases that the company is working on in the Valencian community.
The roll-out will see Orange offer its technology progressively throughout 2022 in more than 1,100 towns and cities, 820 of them having between 1,000 and 50,000 citizens. In addition, in what it said was a bid to help reduce the mobile digital divide, Orange revealed that 140 towns in 30 provinces with fewer than 1,000 citizens will also benefit from the mobile network. The company will also deploy this technology in 140 cities with more than 50,000 citizens.
Towns such as Labajos in Segovia, Villoruebo in Burgos, Martinamor in Salamanca, Cirueña in La Rioja, Carboneros in Jaén and La Puebla de Valdivia in Palencia are among the locations.
The 5G technology has the ability to promote the development of rural areas, facilitating, for example, work on farms. Recently, within the framework of 5G National Plan, Orange, together with Agroamb, Ericsson and Qampo, presented a use case based on the installation of sensors connected via 5G IoT in croplands. Together with the use of satellite maps, this can obtain information on the state of the cultivated fields and improve its performance.
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Yet just as it was making these assurances, the operator highlighted specific details of the 700 MHz 5G roll-out in the country’s leading centres of population, namely nearly 200 cities and towns in the Madrid region and Catalonia.
In the deployment, about 30 towns and cities in the Community of Madrid will be able to enjoy what Orange assured was the highest download speed and capacity, lower latency to play online and the possibility of connecting simultaneously more devices to the mobile network, as well as from indoors, with the maximum bandwidth availability.
The roll-out plan includes, among others, Móstoles, Parla, Pinto, Alcalá de Henares, Fuenlabrada, Torrejón de Ardoz, Leganés and Alcobendas. Orange will also deploy 700 MHz 5G nodes in the mountain areas of Madrid, such as San Lorenzo del Escorial, Colmenar Viejo, Collado Villalba and Soto del Real, a move that it says will make teleworking possible for the inhabitants of these cities.
In Catalonia, more than 160 towns and cities will also enjoy these deployments – Castelldefels, Manresa, Mataró, Sabadell, and Hospitalet de Llobregat y Terrasa among them. Smaller towns will also be able to take advantage of 5G technology on 700 MHz band.
Going forward, the 700MHz frequency band will serve to complement 3.5GHz frequency band already deployed, mainly improving the upstream data service of 5G users. According to Orange’s most-recent financial results, presented by the company on 30 September 2021, Orange 5G coverage already reaches more than half of the Spanish population and already has 620,000 5G customers.