As regards 4G, both the Industry Minister and the leaders from Orange agreed on the need to deploy the new fourth generation mobile networks in Spain to absorb the significant traffic increase that will be generated over the coming years due to the increasingly widespread use of mobile browsing and the use of smartphones.
From July, Orange will offer its 4G services in all major Spanish cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga and Murcia. Before the end of the year, Orange will add a further 9 cities to its 4G coverage: Zaragoza, Bilbao, La Coruña, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas, Alicante, Cordoba, Valladolid and Vigo. The company will continue its 4G deployment in 2014 to provide coverage to all provincial capitals.
José Manuel Soria welcomed the fact that Orange shares the confidence in Spain as a receiver of investment in this technology, which the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism has promoted with such reforms as the new General Telecommunications Act, the Digital Agenda for Spain and the National Ultra-fast Networks Strategy, all implemented since the new government came to power.
The reforms carried out by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism are bringing forward the implementation of 4G technology, which was originally set to arrive in January 2015.
4G technology has a highly positive impact on the Spanish economy and is worth more than 12 billion euros over the coming years, which equates to approximately 1% of GDP. The impact at a European level has been estimated at 150 billion euros.
This framework of driving innovation and new technologies to increase competitiveness is the backdrop for the Government's commitment to bring forward the arrival of 4G technology in Spain by more than a year.
Efforts have been made in various areas to make this happen, such as the approval of the Digital Agenda for Spain, which will facilitate compliance with European broadband targets; the development of the General Telecommunications Act, which will eliminate barriers to the deployment of networks and promote market unity; and the new National Ultra-fast Networks Strategy, which will promote the deployment of new fixed and mobile ultra-fast broadband networks, as well as the digital dividend that will free up the 800MHz frequency band for 4G.
Pierre Louette and Jean Marc Vignolles also informed the Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism about the development of their project to deploy fiber to the home (FTTH) in Spain, within the framework of their agreement with Vodafone to develop, in a complementary and coordinated fashion, an FTTH network that will reach 6 million homes in more than 50 cities over the next four and a half years.