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Telefónica to begin deployment of 5G SA next year

Spanish telecommunications operator Telefónica expects to begin the deployment of 5G Standalone (SA) services next year, the telco said in a release.

The three initial use cases developed by Telefónica Tech and to be sold by the telco’s enterprise division Telefónica Empresas from January are: Automated guided robot vehicles for use in places including warehouses; remote maintenance systems using technology including smart glasses; and drones for site surveillance.

The telco said that the automated guided vehicles for industrial use are connected through an IoT visualization and route planning platform, to manage communication with them in a bidirectional way, which facilitates performing repetitive tasks without human intervention. This use case, which is especially suitable for the industrial, logistics and transport sector, can work in both LTE and 5G environments. 

The remote assistance service, optionally including augmented reality, allows equipment to be operated or repaired in real time, without the need to be physically at the location of the site where the incident is occurring, the carrier said. For this, the company added, a remote monitoring and assistance platform is used to which devices such as a smartphone, a tablet or smart glasses are connected, which simplify the work of technicians in the field.

Telefónica added the identified applications would be fully supported by its current Non-Standalone 5G technology and LTE. The three offerings are being sold either using its public mobile network or alongside a full private deployment.

The telco predicts in the five years from 2022, 40% of the industrial sector in Spain will “demand 5G connectivity”.

In July, Telefónica officially announced its decision to award the contracts to deploy its 5G standalone radio networks across Spain to Nordic vendors Ericsson and Nokia.

The deployment of Nokia and Ericsson 5G SA networks will be carried out on the 3.5 GHz and 700 MHz bands, Telefónica said.

Telefónica currently offers 5G coverage to over 80% of the Spanish population. During the first half of 2021, the deployment of 5G has focused on completing coverage in the cities deployed last year and reaching cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants.

All the provincial capitals and autonomous cities, 100% of the cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and 98% of those with more than 20,000 inhabitants, as well as small towns in all the autonomous communities already have 5G, the Spanish telco said.

Telefónica’s 5G network currently combines the deployment of 5G NSA and DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing).


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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