Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 02-08-2013
It appeared that Movistar wasn't making any moves toward launching an LTE service in Spain, while the country's other operators had already started or, at least announced, their plans. However, Telefónica's company has in fact been working on a deal with Yoigo to spread out a 4G network more easily.
Movistar will share radioelectric space with Yoigo to launch 4G while waiting for more slots to be released – as Movistar has no more space in the 1,800Mhz slot and doesn't want to use the 2,600Mhz for that purpose. The spectrum reform is expected to be completed during the first months of 2014 and the operator doesn't want to be pushed into the background in the meantime.
Through the deal, Yoigo will be allowed to use Movistar's fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and ADSL networks, allowing it to compete in the TV and Internet field. According to the newspaper Expansion, Yoigo is already working on offering a convergent package with Internet, mobile and TV.
Both companies have also signed an agreement to sell some of their own infrastructure to Abertis telecom. Around 4,500 telephone towers have been sold for €385 million, but Telefónica and Yoigo will continue to use them.
The new deal between the former monopoly and the young virtual operator has shocked Spain's telecoms market. The main competitors are not happy about the strategic union and have already asked the Government and the telecoms authority to investigate the agreement.
Vodafone and Orange have cited several reasons against the deal including that it breaks concurrence rules and that there has been no governmental permission for such a spectrum concentration.
The Government has not yet made a statement but is likely to reveal its position within next few days.