The operators have repeatedly emphasized that the rapid development of 5G will be possible only thanks to the support from public funds. Therefore, the Spanish government development agency has decided to allocate 20 million euros for 2 pilot projects related to 5G. This investment is co-financed by the European regional development program.
R&D works on next-generation mobile networks are not the cheapest. 5G networks will use new frequency bands that have not been used in mobile radiocommunication systems so far. In turn, operators are reluctant to take investments that have a long payback time. And it is piloting 5G that belongs to this type of investment. The new base stations are equipped with new generation antennas, which are much more expensive than the currently used equipment. To do this, you have to add the costs associated with training personnel, who must master all the time developing (and changing) technology. One can not also forget about measures that need to be devoted to the development of devices and systems that connect to 5G networks. This is a very important issue, because investing in 5G without parallel development of new services does not make sense.
20 million euros for piloting two 5G projects is not a large sum
It would seem that Spain is very wasteful in providing support for the development of 5G. However, 20 million euros is just a drop in the ocean of needs. The Polish Ministry of Digitalization estimates that the construction of 5G network in Poland will cost from 2.5 to 5 billion EUR. At the same time, this amount includes all four main operators. As a result, we have between 0.625 and 1,25 billion euro per operator. In turn, the American branch of T-Mobile has already signed contracts with Nokia and Ericsson for the supply of hardware and software needed to build 5G networks, which amount to a total of over 6 billion EUR. Therefore, a Spanish grant of 20 million euro is enough to finance only two projects. In practice, this will mean the possibility of running a 5G network on 2 campuses.
I suppose the 5G pilot networks will only start operating in Spain next year. Applications for their funding can be submitted by December 14. Selected projects will also receive access to the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz and 26 GHz bands. The applications will be favoured, the authors of which will decide to experiment with new technologies and present various applications of the 5G network.