Telefonica is to turn two Spanish towns into ‘living labs’, using them to test 5G technologies, services and business models.
The operator, along with network equipment partners Ericsson and Nokia, will test capacity, network deployment models and the development of use cases, while citizens will get early access to some of the features of 5G networks.
Nokia was chosen for Segovia because of its ‘unique’ end-to-end product portfolio, while Ericsson was selected in Talvera de la Reina for its work with 5G standards. Both firms have been working extensively on 5G development over the past few years.
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Ericsson is trialling 5G in central London with Vodafone and has plans for the 2018 World Cup this summer, while Nokia is holding tests in Bristol.
“With the 5G Technological Cities project, Telefónica is turning the technology of the future into reality and providing a constant service for people,” said Luis Miguel Gilpérez , Telefonica Spain CEO. “This is why we will perform the technological deployment and use cases in parallel, so that we will serve people with the new technologies, one of Telefónica’s clear objectives”.
The networks will initially rely on 4G infrastructure before becoming standalone. Telefonica is working with SEAT and FICOSA on connected car applications and with tourism agencies on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) services.
Other use cases include the automation and digitisation of industrial processes, fixed radio access in rural areas, health, and drone control.
The first commercial 5G networks are expected to arrive in 2020, offering speeds of at least 1Gbps, low latency and high capacity. Telefonica believes that 5G will offer speeds of up to 10Gbps, latency of between 1 and 5 milliseconds.
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