• Students, researchers and businesses will be able to experience 5G technology in a real setting
  • International businesses and centres will be able to come to Catalonia to test out these new solutions

Catalonia becomes an open laboratory in 5G connectionCatalonia will become the first open 5G laboratory in Europe and become a reference point for experimenting with 5G technology, thanks to an agreement between the Catalan GovernmentOrange the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and Mobile World Capital Barcelona. Trials will be starting soon and will turn Catalonia into the world epicentre of digital innovation, according to the Catalan Government.

This agreement, which Fundació i2CAT is also a part of and which has a valid term of one year subject to extension, has come about within the framework of the 5G Barcelona alliance and will allow students, researchers and businesses to experiment with this technology in a real setting and come up with, test and research applications based around the Internet of Things (IoT).

This open 5G laboratory will involve an investment of 2.5 million euros from the company Orange and public investment which is yet to be determined. This will all be possible thanks to the telecommunications firm granting part of its 5G infrastructure to any interested company. The agreement will open up knowledge to international businesses and centres so that they can come to Catalonia to test out the latest solutions in real-life contexts with the aim of reducing the time it takes to develop projects.

Right now, there are only antennas in Barcelona, but the project will allow businesses to install more in other places across Catalonia so that they can reach rural settings, such as Montsant in the province of Tarragona. The project will also be able to make use of the Catalan Government’s fibre optic network.

Apart from wireless connections, Orange will grant access points to the pilot 5G network and provide access with LTE-M coverage – technology for transferring small amounts of data over a long period of time with low energy consumption – and 5G for the UPC’s Campus Nord in Barcelona and Campus Baix Llobregat in Castelldefels (near Barcelona). The agreement also includes two new spaces with LTE-M coverage in  the Fòrum area and the 22@ district in Barcelona.


Sergi Vilar, Vicepresident, Head of Pharma & APIs Sites Cluster at Merck Group


Xavier Mayo

April 2020
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