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Spain Digital 2025 presented, an agenda to promote digital transformation

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, presented last Thursday the updated Digital Agenda, which will bear the name of Spain Digital 2025. It includes nearly 50 measures grouped into ten strategic axes with which, in the next five years, the aim is to promote the Spain’s digital transformation process, in line with the digital strategy of the European Union. Thanks to public-private collaboration and with the participation of more than 25 economic, business and social agents, Spain Digital 2025 contemplates the implementation during 2020-2022 of a series of structural reforms, which envisage mobilizing around 20,000 million euros of public investment and some 50,000 million of private investment. One of the highlights of Spain Digital 2025 is to reinforce the Spanish capacity in cybersecurity, with the expectation of having 20,000 specialists in 2025. Precisely the next day, the European Commission presented the updated version of the report on 5G Cybersecurity last January, in which makes no mention of China or Huawei, although 14 member states evaluate that “their level of exposure to high potential risk suppliers is medium or high”, three others that it is low and the remaining eight do not provide any information to the respect. A clear conclusion is that protection mechanisms must be strengthened to ensure that there are no information leaks in the 5G value chain and in view of the important plenary meeting in October 2020.

In the words of President Sánchez, "Spain Digital 2025 is not just another plan, it is one of the strategic pillars on which Spain's economic recovery must be based: job creation, increased productivity and the conquest of foreign markets" . The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, who participated in the presentation by videoconference, described the agenda as “ambitious and innovative” and stressed that “it anticipates the necessary structural reforms and investments for the future, ensures the continuity of policies "Traditional to deploy infrastructure, increase connectivity and make companies, especially small and medium, more digital."

One of the main strategic axes refers to guaranteeing adequate digital connectivity for the entire population, promoting the disappearance of the digital gap between rural and urban areas, with the aim that 100% of the population have a minimum coverage of 100 megabits per second in 2025 (currently 89%).

Regarding the deployment of 5G technology, “it is set as a goal that in 2025 100% of the radio spectrum will be prepared for 5G”. In Annex II it is said that the percentage is now 30%. Among the measures envisaged is the release of the second digital dividend in 2020, the allocation of the priority frequency bands demanded for 5G in 2021, new 5G pilots to boost their deployment, the development of 5G transport corridors and trying to “lead European projects of innovation in new generations of mobile technology ”.

It also wants to reinforce, as indicated at the beginning, the Spanish capacity in cybersecurity. It seeks to have 20,000 specialists in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and data in 2025 thanks, among other things, to the pole of business activity that the environment of the National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE) supposes.

Nadia Calviño, vice president of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, said on Monday of last week that cybersecurity will have a "preeminent role" in Spain Digital 2025. "There is no cybersecurity without cooperation," said Calviño, who stressed the importance of collaborating with other countries.

"Spain Digital 2025 is one of the strategic pillars on which Spain's economic recovery must be based: job creation, increased productivity and conquest of foreign markets," says the President of the Government.

Another important objective is to reinforce the digital skills of workers and of citizens as a whole, with special emphasis on the needs of the labor market and on closing the digital gap in education. The goal is that in 2025 80% of people have basic digital skills and that half of them are women.

It is also planned to accelerate the digitization of companies, with special attention to micro-SMEs and start-ups. The goal is for at least 25% of SMEs' turnover to come from electronic commerce in 2025. Likewise, it wants to accelerate the digitization of the production model through driving projects for digital transformation in strategic economic sectors such as agri-food, mobility, health, tourism, commerce or energy, among others. These projects aim at a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions due to the digitization of the economy in 2025.

Promoting the digitization of Public Administrations, particularly in key areas such as employment, justice, or social policies by updating technological infrastructures, is another of the strategic axes of the plan. In 2025, 50% of public services will be available through a mobile application and the relationship between citizens and companies with the Administrations will be simplified and personalized.

It also wants to improve the attractiveness of Spain as a European audiovisual platform to generate business and jobs, with a goal of increasing 30% of audiovisual production in our country by 2025. And move towards a data economy, guaranteeing security and privacy and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence with the aim that at least 25% of companies use artificial intelligence and Big Data within five years. It also wants to guarantee the rights in the new digital environment, and in particular, the rights of workers, consumers, citizens and companies. The development of a digital bill of rights is set in this area.

España Digital 2025 can be downloaded at.

The Full report    

 The executive summary   

The following table, extracted from the report, summarizes the ten proposed measures and the goal for 2025.


Many countries have strengthened the regulation of their telecommunications networks to make them safer, although it is expected that in the coming months there will be more progress in this regard, the experts' report points out.

The Government will create the Consultative Council for Digital Transformation, which will be public-private and will facilitate dialogue and participation of the different economic and social agents for the digital transformation of the country. The National Telecommunications and Information Society Observatory (ONTSI) will contribute by providing public information on digital transformation and supporting the preparation of reports for the evaluation and updating of the actions carried out within the framework of this agenda. Additionally, a website dedicated to Spain Digital 2025 will be created, with updated information on measures and indicators, and an Annual Monitoring Report will be prepared, which will be presented to the Advisory Council for Digital Transformation.

Last Friday, the European Commission published the report by the coordination group on the progress made by the Member States on the security of 5G networks. The report highlights that the countries of the European Union are making progress to introduce safer 5G networks to operate, although it is emphasized that greater efforts are urgently needed to avoid dependence on high-risk 5G providers. 

The report was requested by the European Commission last January, when the “toolbox” was published to help Member States assess security risks.  In this report published on July 24, it is ensured that progress in identifying the security risks of 5G networks “ They have been mixed. "

Many countries, the report says, have strengthened the powers of national regulatory authorities to regulate the security of their networks and their requirements and have very advanced restrictive plans, although it is expected that in the coming months there will be more progress in this regard. .

The European Commission seems to be more in favor of including prior authorizations for suppliers of equipment that may represent some risk, as France or Italy is assessing, rather than establishing a blacklist of suppliers, as the United Kingdom has done with Huawei. But identifying these risky suppliers is also considered risky, in part because non-technical criteria are often used.

The issue of 5G network security is also increasingly urgent as more countries in the European Union are introducing commercial networks and with greater deployment. That is why Member States have required a new report very early in October to assess the final recommendations of the European Commission and decide whether further action should be taken.

In the European Commission press release on the report now submitted,  to both Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for a Strong Europe in the Digital era as Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, highlights the need for secure telecommunications networks and infrastructure.


Several operators prepare to offer SA 5G services starting in the fall

Different operators are working with their telecommunications equipment suppliers to complete the pilot tests and offer commercial 5G Stand Alone (SA 5G) services before the end of the year. Currently, all 5G services operate in Non Stand Alone (NSA 5G NR) mode; that is, the link networks work with 5G but the transport and trunk networks work with 4G LTE signaling systems, so that only a small part of the advantages of 5G can be used. Starting next year, as fully SA 5G networks are deployed at more sites, services as promising as real low latency (less than millisecond), personalized services (network slicing), edge computing (Edge Computing) will be possible. ), smart factories and the full integration of information technologies and telecommunications networks through cloud-hosted services, among others.


Nokia and Samsung announce more open link networks, which would give more flexibility to operators

Nokia and Samsung have announced, with a few days apart, the next availability of virtualized and cloud-based link networks (RANs), with open interfaces but proprietary equipment. This would allow, if everything works as expected by these companies, that operators have greater flexibility and more manufacturers and alternative solutions when it comes to building their network infrastructures, albeit with limitations. For their part, the main operators, such as Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Orange, are carrying out various pilot tests of open link networks based on Open RAN and manufactured by companies mainly from the United States, such as Alliostar, Parallel Wireless and Mavenir, with encouraging results. in the medium term. The question that arises is what is meant by “open systems”, because in the end any link network must comply with the common specifications 4G and 5G approved by 3GPP, most of which are protected by patents, which are mainly from Huawei, Ericsson or Nokia.


Small cells can be installed without prior authorization in the EU, to facilitate indoor 5G coverage

The European Commission has approved a regulation that allows small cells to be installed indoors without the need for prior authorization; it is sufficient that the corresponding authority is informed and that its volume does not exceed 30 liters in the event that it is visible and complies with the strict limits of electromagnetic radiation established in the EU. With this, Brussels hopes to promote 5G coverage in interior spaces in the coming years, based on the installation of signal repeaters, because it is aware that users use mobile phones mainly in interior spaces, be they offices, shopping centers or metro or railway stations, and the 5G signal is greatly weakened, if not null, inside buildings, even though there is full coverage outside.


British decision to ban Huawei equipment reopens debate on secure 5G networks

The British Government has prohibited operators in its country from buying Huawei any type of 5G equipment as of January 1, and that by the end of 2027 no trace of its products will remain on its telecommunications networks. For the time being, the installed Huawei 4G and 3G equipment will be able to continue to operate and be maintained, but what will happen with the country’s fiber optic infrastructure, largely installed by Huawei, remains in the air, because the Government is ” reevaluating ”. At the moment, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, acknowledged before the British Parliament that the decision is expected to mean “a delay of between two and three years in the deployment of 5G” and that the total bill for the replacement exceed £ 2 billion. Dowden placed special emphasis on decoupling the decision from any internal policy carried out by China and assured that the security of the British network had been reconsidered by the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) based on the “severe impact of the possibilities of Huawei to supply equipment to the UK, ”referring to the US ban on the sale of any chip to Huawei made with equipment and patents from US companies. The change in position from what was approved in January by the British government has been widely interpreted as an attempt to please the United States, which even wanted a total ban long before the end of 2027. It remains to be seen what the alternative will be to have the Completely reliable and secure infrastructure that the government wants.


Spain, very well placed to take advantage of 5G capabilities

Spain is the European country that has deployed the most fiber optics in its territory, making it very well placed to take advantage of the capabilities that 5G will offer in the coming years, as argued by Roberto Sánchez, Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures, in the online presentation of the latest report of the 5G National Observatory, on standardization and deployment of 5G, which took place last Friday. “We have one of the best telecommunications networks in the world and we are in a great moment to take advantage of this capacity and the great opportunity that 5G will offer Spain in the coming years,” said Roberto Sánchez. For his part, Federico Ruíz, head of the 5G National Observatory (ON5G), highlighted “the enormous economic opportunity that 5G allows, a technology that is already here.” He also stressed that coverage matters, but we must not forget the humble phone and the great possibilities it offers, increased with the continuous technological evolution. The latest ON5G report is now available on its website .
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5G begins a new phase with the final approval of Release 16 by 3GPP

3GPP, the global group that is developing all 5G standards, has set the final version of Release 16 (R16) this weekend, after endless meetings that had to be done online due to the pandemic and that have made it difficult to take of decisions. This completes the expected R16, three months after the suspension of all face-to-face meetings. With it, the second phase of 5G begins with a complete series of 5G specifications, which will allow in a few months the installation of equipment and network devices that will improve and optimize some of the functions already present in Release 15 and will introduce new ones . R16 is considered essential in the 5G adoption process, because it is the first to contain a complete description of the 5G system and is intended to be delivered to IMT-2020. The standard setting process will continue with Releases 17 and 18, with additions and additional improvements, but now it will be possible to work with genuine 5G mobile networks, with definitive equipment, without any dependence on 4G networks, although they will continue to be logically related. With the R16, 5G you can have the expected profound impact on the mobile phone industry as a whole and on different vertical and specialized sectors, both professional and consumer.