The war over 5G begins to take on relevance in Spain: after Vodafone has deployed this mobile connectivity for a year, Orange has confirmed that it will not wait for the auction of frequencies after the Second Digital Dividend. The operator will distribute 5G NSA before the end of 2020.
The situation around 5G is quite curious in Spain. On the one hand we have mid-range smartphones that for just over 350 euros already incorporate the new connectivity; On the other hand, we are waiting for the main operators to start competing once the necessary frequencies for the 5G SA are released. In between Vodafone sneaked in with its 5G NSA networks. And soon it will have competition.
Orange will not wait for 5G NSA to offer its 5G rates
The frequency liberalization process has been somewhat delayed in Spain due to the incidence of confinement by the coronavirus. Even so, the Second Digital Dividend is scheduled to end in October, a process that will lead to the expected auction of frequencies to operate in the 5G SA spectrum or Stand Alone, the true high-speed, low-latency connection. While the changes are being made so that DTT leaves the frequencies free, the operators are waiting to plan their strategy around the new connectivity. And, since Vodafone has a clear advantage, the rest of the competitors must make a move.
During Orange’s presentation of results, the company confirmed that will not wait for new frequencies to commercialize 5G in its rates. Specifically, the operator ensures that it will deploy 5G under the same conditions as Vodafone, in Non Stand Alone or on current 4G equipment. This ensures high download and upload speeds, but not as low latency. In addition, the difficulty of penetration into buildings is very noticeable, with the drawbacks that this implies for users.
Orange has maintained until now that it would wait for 5G SA for its deployment, but they assure that « the situation is not the same as a year ago » Because there is already an interest in customers and that much progress has been made in the infrastructure and the launch of compatible terminals. They will reveal all the details (including cities, rates, etc.) after the summer, but acknowledge that they will have to settle for the 5G NSA for now. As for the delay of the spectrum auction for 2021, they affirm that they are ready to launch the 5G NSA this year because they already had the 3.5 GHz band, so the delay of the Second Digital Dividend « is not an obstacle » . Therefore, we will have to wait until September to know all the data about the arrival of Orange 5G in Spain.
Orange announces it will launch 5G later this year