Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Business has awarded grants for two 5G pilot projects to Telefónica and Vodafone Spain, signaling the start of the first phase of that country’s 5G technology trials funded from state and European Union (EU) coffers.
The total budget for the two projects amounts to more than $40 million. Around $11 million will be co-funded by state agency Red.es within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Multiregional Operational Program of Spain (POPE).
Vodafone Spain will conduct a trial in the Andalusia region in partnership with Huawei, confirming previous reports that the carrier planned to work with the China-based vendor on 5G.
Vodafone is said to have submitted projects relating to trials with Huawei in Pamplona, Málaga, and Seville, and with Ericsson in Vigo. The project with Huawei has a budget of more than $27 million and will last for 30 months.
The projects will explore dozens of 5G use cases, including agriculture, health, smart cities and territories, security and defense, society, economy and digital culture, digital transformation, and tourism. The ministry added that 10 of the use cases will involve virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR); five will focus on applications of drones; and three will explore facial recognition.
Telefónica will conduct a trial in Galicia in collaboration with a number of companies, including Ericsson, Nokia, and Spain-based Telnet. That project will have $12 million in funds and last more than 24 months. It will focus on use cases including connected cars, drones, AR, fixed wireless access, and health.
Telefónica is already working with Ericsson and Nokia on its 5G Technological Cities project in Segovia and Talavera de la Reina. In November 2018, it also teamed up with Huawei to stage a 5G video call between Málaga and London, and indicated that Málaga was the third location to be included in the 5G Technological Cities project.
Red.es said back in January that it had received 11 applications for funding of 5G pilots. Orange Spain was previously said to have submitted three projects and was proposing to use Huawei equipment to trial 5G technology in Málaga and Seville, while working with ZTE in Valencia, and Nokia in Vigo.