After 4G, 5G has landed in Spain, the new generation of mobile telephony called to evolutionize not only the world of communications but the industry of the future. The four national operators ―Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone and MásMóvil― have already launched the first commercial 5G services, although only in the most important cities, with reduced coverage and very limited technical capabilities. This early start has also been influenced by the change brought about by the covid-19 pandemic, which has uncovered the need to be communicated at all times with good quality through teleworking and the explosion of streaming. These are the keys to the premiere of 5G in Spain.
The 5G or fifth generation is the new wireless broadband standard that will provide higher speeds, coverage and features than the current LTE-4G. There are market and marketing reasons . Confinement and restrictions on mobility have uncovered teleworking and tele-teaching as a necessity.
To do this, it is necessary to ensure a quality mobile connection with higher speeds than those provided by 4G or the domestic Wi-Fi connection. In addition, operators have seen their revenues plummet due to the economic crisis, and their best clients are switching to low-cost plans, in addition to the increase in bad debts. Including 5G in the commercial offer, although it is far from being fully operational, can be a good commercial claim.
Although in the future 5G will serve to launch industry 4.0, the Internet of things, robotics or the autonomous car, this technology already has practical applications. Video calls have become popular and 5G allows them to be made in Full HD quality without interruptions or communication degradation. Furthermore, thanks to the lower latency, streaming video services , such as Netflix, HBO or the operators’ platforms (Movistar +, Orange TV and Vodafone TV) , are notably increased .
In the most populated cities and not in all neighborhoods, with coverage that does not even reach 30% of the population. By operators,
– Movistar has already switched on its network in eight large provincial capitals with the promise of extending 5G coverage to 75% of the population before the end of the year, including 150 cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. But beware, it cannot be contracted yet and we will have to wait until the end of October or the beginning of November for the commercial launch.
– Orange has 5G in the most populated and central areas of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Seville and Malaga, with between 20% and 30% coverage.
– MásMóvil uses the same network as Orange and in addition to the six cities of the French operator, it is being tested in Alicante, Alcobendas, Almería, Ávila, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Huesca, Jaén, Melilla, Ourense, Salamanca and Seville. With one caveat: it only offers 5G to subscribers of its Yoigo brand. The rest (MásMóvil, Pepephone, Lebara, Lycamobile and Llamaya) will not have this commercial offer.
– Vodafone was a pioneer in commercializing 5G services in the Spanish market in June 2019 and currently provides it partially in 21 cities.
At the moment, none of the operators has applied a price increase to customers who live in towns where 5G is available given the poor coverage. Nor is it foreseeable that they will do so in the future, as happened in the jump from 3G to 4G. Of course, you will have to hire a plan with unlimited data or many gigabytes because 5G consumes data very fast given its capabilities.
All companies only provide 5G services over the 3.7 gigahertz (GHz) frequency band, which has little penetration inside buildings, and with an intermediate technology that, in reality, is an evolution of the current 4G. It is known as 5G NSA ( Non-Standalone or 5G non-autonomous) and does not provide much of the specifications of the 5G SA ( Standalone or full 5G). To enjoy 5G with all its capacity, we will have to wait for the auction of the 700 MHz band that the Government plans to launch in the first quarter of 2021.
Yes. All terminals are now 4G. In fact, the great handicap of the popularization of 5G is the shortage of terminals that work with this technology. So far, brands such as Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, Oppo, One Plus or Huawei have launched 5G terminals on the market, but mainly in the high-end range, at a very high price of around 1,000 euros. Manufacturers are expected to include more affordable 5G terminals in their mid-range catalogs this fall.
The launch of Apple’s first 5G iPhones is also expected soon. Connections with 5G are 100 times faster than current ones (although now they only reach average speeds 10 times higher than 4G), so that data downloads will even exceed those of current fixed fiber optic networks. For example, a 1GB movie can be downloaded in less than ten seconds.
More than upload or download speed, the main improvement that 5G will introduce is the reduction of latency. Latency is the response time it takes for a device to execute an order since the signal is sent to it. The lower it is, the faster the reaction of the device that we operate remotely, be it an autonomous driving car or a video conference. 5G reduces that delay to one millisecond, from more than 10 for 4G.
Just laying out the necessary antennas and networks will mean an investment of 5,000 million euros for Spanish operators. To that amount must be added the launch and marketing costs .
No. It is a recurring hoax that has been updated by conspiranoids after the coronavirus pandemic, accusing 5G of facilitating the spread of the virus through the electromagnetic waves emitted by the antennas . None of the studies conducted by international organizations such as the WHO have detected any relationship between 5G and any disease.