Illustration: Freepik

Eight new pilot projects in eight autonomous regions maintains our country at the forefront of the deployment of this technology, which is key to economic recovery and digital transformation


The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has recently been awarded eight new 5G pilot projects, the fifth generation of mobile networks that will allow navigation up to 10 times faster than the current one.

The projects will be developed during 2020 and 2021 in eight autonomous regions: Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, Valencia, Extremadura, Galicia and the Basque Country. They will allow the exploration and identification of 5G use cases and applications in thirteen sectors, such as security, agriculture, industry, tourism, television production and education.

The new projects will have an aggregate budget of almost 40 million euros, 12 of which will be co-financed by, a body that is part of the Ministry, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). These pilots will be developed by Temporary Business Associations, led by various telecommunications operators and suppliers of equipment and services for these networks. 68 public and private entities will also participate as collaborators, which will experience in their applications the three great improvements provided by 5G: very high speed and enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable and low latency communications, and machine-to-machine mass communications.

With this new winning proposal – the second, after the one launched by the Ministry through at the end of 2018, with a value of 20 million Euros – Spain will continue to lead the deployment of 5G networks in Europe. In fact, it is currently the country with the largest number of pilots.


Boosting the Digital Spain 2025 strategy


5G technology has a high capacity to contribute to economic productivity and territorial structuring. According to data from the European Commission in 2016, the economic impact of 5G will led to investments worth more than 5 billion euros and the creation of more than 300,000 jobs in Spain.

In fact, the deployment of 5G networks is one of the mainstays of the Digital Spain 2025 strategy, presented by the government at the end of July where more than 15 ministries and public bodies and more than 25 economic, business and social agents participated in its preparation. It includes a series of measures, reforms and investments articulated in ten strategic axes, aligned with the digital policies marked by the European Commission and with a horizon of sustainability and inclusion. It is estimated that these structural reforms will mobilise an investment volume of around 70 billion euros, 20 billion in public funds (15 billion of which are European) and another 50 billion of private investment.

The aim of this strategy, especially after the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, is to boost Spain’s digital transformation as one of the essential levers of economic recovery and growth, reducing inequality, increasing productivity and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies. The agenda consists of fifty or so measures based on ten strategic areas: digital connectivity, leadership in the deployment of 5G technology in Europe, strengthening the digital skills of workers and citizens, reinforcing Spain’s capacity for cyber security, promoting the digitisation of public administrations, accelerating the digitisation of companies, speeding up the digitisation of the production model, improving the attractiveness of Spain as a European audiovisual platform, moving towards a data economy and guaranteeing rights in the new digital environment.

All this is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Agenda 2030.