Media is reporting that Telefonica Spain has decided to select Nokia and Ericsson for its standalone (SA) 5G network, overlooking its long-term partner Huawei

Telefonica Spain first launched 5G in September 2020, using Nokia and Ericsson for the RAN portion of the network and Huawei equipment for the 4G core. Since then, the operator’s coverage has increased to over 80% of the Spanish population, some 37 million people.

Now, however, media reports suggest that Telefonica Spain will be continuing its 5G journey without Huawei, having decided to award contracts to Ericsson and Nokia for the its upcoming SA 5G network.

The contracts encompass Telefonica’s transition to the SA technology, involving the upgrading of around 22,000 base stations across Spain. The SA network will make use of around 100 MHz of Telefonica’s current allocation in the 3.5GHz band, as well as some of the spectrum the operator hopes to acquire in the upcoming auction.

Spain first auctioned 5G spectrum back in the summer of 2018, when the sale of 3.5GHz licences raised €437.6 million. Now, the regulator is planning to auction off lower frequency 5G spectrum in the 700MHz band, with bidding to begin on the 21st of July. 

Given the reserve prices set for this spectrum, this auction is set to raise almost €1 billion.

That this latest set of contracts will see Huawei lose out should not be too surprising. While Spain has continually refused to implement a ban on the Chinese vendor, as we have seen in countries like the UK, the government has nonetheless been cagey about their approach to 5G security. Back in December, it was confirmed that their upcoming 5G security law would not veto Huaweil, but will include tighter security measures for vendors to satisfy. 

Regardless, Telefonica Spain first indicated that it would be gradually moving away from a reliance on Huawei for core technology back in 2019, suggesting that it would be looking to diversify its core by 2024.

We are seeing a similar approach from Telefonica in its Brazilian market, a country where Huawei’s future is perhaps a little more secure. Back in May, Telefonica suggested that its Brazilian arm, Vivo, is working with existing group partners in the form of Mavenir, Nokia, and Oracle for its upcoming SA 5G network.


How will the shifting vendor ecosystem affecting the future of 5G? Find out from the experts from a variety of international markets at this year’s Total Telecom Congress

Also in the news:
China’s semiconductor revolution: From crisis to self-sufficiency
The ‘incredible resilience’ of the smartphone market
Facebook partners with D-Vois, Netplus for public Wi-Fi hotspots