Movistar Espana considering core network upgrade to enable LTE launch?

29 May 2013

In the wake of announcements by three of Spain’s four mobile network operators regarding launch dates for 4G services, Expansion claims that Movistar Espana has begun shopping around for a vendor to upgrade its core network. With Movistar the country’s only cellco not to have announced concrete plans for the introduction of LTE technology, it is understood that this is due to a lack of capacity on its 1800MHz spectrum allocation, which it currently uses for 2G services. Having been expected to wait for 800MHz frequencies which are due to be made available as part of the sale of digital dividend spectrum in order to launch 4G, a delay to the sale process has been cited as having prompted the operator to reconsider its options. It is understood that, should Movistar proceed with plans to upgrade its core network, it could introduce commercial LTE services using the 2600MHz band as early as October 2013, although the report notes that this would likely mean it offering weaker indoor coverage compared with its rivals. Meanwhile, it has also been suggested that Movistar is examining other options, including rumours that it may look to ink a roaming agreement with rival Yoigo for the latter’s LTE network, which is expected to be inaugurated on 18 July 2013.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Vodafone Spain will become the first of Spain’s mobile operators to switch on its LTE infrastructure, with the cellco set to launch in seven cities today, those being: Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia. For its part, Orange Espana will be the second to market, having scheduled its own launch for 8 July 2013.