5G Network: Vodafone launches commercial network service in Spain
UK telecommunications operator, Vodafone launched its 5G commercial network service in 15 Spanish cities over the weekend. The roll-out is in cooperation with Chinese tech giant Huawei, and experts believe the country is the perfect test bed for a technology which can boast speeds up to 100 times faster than its predecessor. Filio Kontrafouri sent this report from Madrid.
It's finally here. 5G signs appear in Vodafone's flagship store in Madrid, along with the first 5G smartphones for sale. The launch of 5G in the Spanish capital has already been attracting potential customers and sparked interest among tourists.
"I know the 5G is here, it's the next level but I never tried it. I want to try it."
"I would consider buying a 5G phone to get better coverage and to get better, more reliable and quicker service."
5G is a technology that offers speeds and network capabilities up to 100 times higher than existing 4G networks. It has much lower latencies, meaning the information sent arrives almost immediately. And then, it's the 5G network density.
FILIO KONTRAFOURI MADRID "This is Puerta del Sol, one of the busiest areas in the heart of Madrid, where thousands of locals gather every day, most of them while using their phones. 5G technology can seamlessly connect up to one million devices in a square kilometer at the same time."
According to the technology industry, it will take at least another two years before 5G fully takes off globally. Most tech companies will start releasing their first 5G smartphones this year. Spain's 5G launch is a first yet important step in the 5G race.
ENRIQUE DANS TECHNOLOGY EXPERT "Spain is going to be an interesting test bed for technology, it's been a very interesting test bed for technology because of its adaption cycle, adaption cycle in terms of social adaption. It's huge in places like Spain, Italy because we are strongly influenced by others."
Vodafone partnered with Chinese tech-giant Huawei and Sweden's Ericsson to launch its 5G service in Spain. The US has black-listed Huawei and has put pressure on other Western countries not to use the company's technology. Some experts say European countries, like Spain, will have to cooperate with Huawei.
ENRIQUE DANS TECHNOLOGY EXPERT "If you want to move fast in 5G deployment you need to come to Huawei because it's the company that has been doing the most for a number of years and owns the most number of patents. Those patents are going to be licensed according to fair agreements but if you say 'no' to Huawei now it's going to take longer and be more expensive for sure."
Vodafone's 5G network will initially cover 50 percent of the population in the 15 cities it was launched. And while other Spanish mobile companies won't be switching-on their 5G networks until next year, Spain has already pitched for connectivity leadership in Europe. Filio Kontrafouri, CGTN, Madrid.