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Spain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 1 Jun 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 282

Spain delays 700MHz spectrum for 5G use due to COVID-19

Spain’s telecom market is one of the largest in Europe, supported by a population of more than 46 million. Mobile penetration is on a par with the European average and there remains room for further growth, particularly in the mobile broadband segment which has been supported by continuing investment in infrastructure among operators. With LTE almost universally available, the focus among operators has shifted to services based on 5G. Vodafone Spain was the first operator to launch a 5G network, in June 2019. The other players planned to wait until after the auction of spectrum in the 700MHz band, though the COVID-19 crisis has delayed this to June 2020.

The fixed-line broadband sector has also been backed by investment in fibre infrastructure, enabling providers to develop improved bundled services and to compete more effectively. The regulator has fostered competition by providing access to Telefónica’s DSL and FttP networks, while network sharing agreements have meant that Orange Spain, Vodafone Spain and Másmóvil have become significant operators. By the beginning of 2020 fibre accounted for about 67% of all fixed broadband connections. Telefónica alone expected to provide complete FttP coverage by 2024.

This report introduces the key aspects of the Spanish telecom market, providing statistics on the fixed-network services sector, and profiles of the main players. The report also assesses the main regulatory issues, noting the status of interconnection, local loop unbundling, number portability and carrier preselection. In addition, the report covers the fixed and wireless broadband markets, together with developments in related technologies, as well as analyses on the mobile sector, including an assessment of regulatory issues, a profile of the major providers, and a review of mobile data services and technologies including LTE and 5G. The report also provides fixed-line, broadband, mobile, and mobile broadband subscriber forecasts.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the global telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may also be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments

  • Regulator delays 700MHz spectrum auction due to COVID-19;
  • EllaLink submarine cable connecting Spain with Brazil to be ready later in 2020;
  • Telefónica joins the 5G Technological Cities project;
  • Orange and Vodafone sign revised network sharing agreement to include 5G;
  • Orange Spain adds ZTE as a 5G vendor partner;
  • Vodafone Spain launches 5G services;
  • Vodafone Spain contracts Huawei to upgrade its HFC network with DOCSIS3.1, launches a 1Gb/s broadband service to four million premises;
  • Movistar aiming to provide 100% FttP coverage by 2024;
  • Fibre broadband accounting for 62% of all fixed-line broadband connections;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data updates to January 2020, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q1 2020, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

Orange Spain, Telefónica (Movistar), Jazztel, Ono, Vodafone Spain, Lebara, Lycamobile, Másmóvil, YouMobile, Yoigo, Euskaltel

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