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Telefónica, Ericsson and Qualcomm claim 5G mmWave commercial first in Spain

Only days away from the eyes of the comms world turning to Barcelona, comms tech firms team with leading Spanish operator to demo first commercial 26GHz mobile network at Mobile World Congress

In a deployment that the three companies say is poised to create a unique 5G user experience for visitors to this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Telefónica, Ericsson and Qualcomm have announced a collaboration to launch the first commercial mobile 5G mmWave infrastructure in Spain.

The demo, called a technology milestone, is designed to allow compatible user devices to access the Ericsson-powered Telefónica 5G mmWave network during the event. At MWC, Qualcomm Technologies will showcase the range of global 5G mmWave devices powered by its Snapdragon mobile platforms that drive industry advancement forward.

Millimetre band connectivity is intended to deliver multiple benefits, targeting areas with intensive traffic needs, such as hotspots in indoor and outdoor environments, enhancing existing city macro sites, densification of urban and suburban street sites, or the use of macro tower sites to extend coverage of fibre-like fixed wireless access service as a complement to fibre deployment in difficult areas.

The partners regard the use of 5G mmWave spectrum as the optimum way to achieve high speeds and high capacity, and to deliver the best 5G experience in crowded areas – such as the mobile industry’s largest connectivity event. What they see as especially interesting is the role of 5G mmWave in the area of fixed wireless access, digitisation and Industry 4.0, providing high-performance coverage and enabling a completely new range of use cases to be explored.

Telefónica is the only service provider in Spain that has acquired a full 1GHz spectrum, making the operator the first company with the ability to offer download speeds beyond 5Gbps and upload speeds of 1Gbps in the future.

Such a breadth of spectrum is designed to enable the use of bandwidth-intensive applications such as multiview cameras and user-generated content in crowded sports venues like football stadiums. It will enhance immersive experiences such as virtual and augmented reality, and provide industry and manufacturing companies with the critical communications tools they need to go fully wireless and become more competitive, by adopting technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation in a fully flexible environment.

Furthermore, the three companies say that based on its high network capacity and extraordinary performance boost, their 5G mmWave deployment will enable an “extraordinary” 5G user experience for Mobile World Congress visitors, allowing ultra-fast mobile connectivity at lower latency that will transform the way they realise mobile connectivity.

The 5G mmWave deployment will cover Hall 3 of the event in Barcelona, using mmWave spectrum bandwidth secured by Telefónica from the recent Spanish spectrum auction. Ericsson is providing its mmWave radio AIR 5322 and high-capacity RAN Processor 6651 coverage to enable the 5G mmWave coverage. The radio access network equipment will be powered by Ericsson Silicon chipsets, enabling industry-leading lightweight and energy-efficiency advantages, as well as unique performance and innovative features.

“This commercial deployment of 5G mmWave services we are launching as a result of our work with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, along with the massive spectrum Telefónica obtained in the last auction, is the last milestone in a series of 5G long-term projects that Telefónica has been developing in collaboration with enterprises and institutions in the last three years,” said Gerardo Rovira, access radio director at Telefónica España.

“It goes a long way in showing the commitment that Telefónica has in the development and leadership of a strong 5G ecosystem that will be a key factor in bringing compelling services for both the public and private sectors.”

Somaya El-Marrakchi, head of networks at Ericsson Iberia, added: “Our collaboration with Telefónica and Qualcomm Technologies to achieve this 5G mmWave technological leap in Spain will dramatically change the experience of mobile connectivity for consumers and enterprises, making it faster, more accessible and more reliable.

“Millimetre band opens a new paradigm in the deployment of 5G technology that will provide operators a powerful tool to complement existing network deployment strategy to increase performance and capacity with different needs.”

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