MADRID (Reuters) - Telefonica said on Friday that it had awarded a contract for its Spanish 5G radio network to Nokia and Ericsson for the frequency bands 3.5GHz and 700MHz.
The mobile and broadband operator said that Nokia and Ericsson would share usage of the frequency bands equally until 2026, but without any changes to each network's geographical distribution.
Telefonica said the move would allow it to focus on improving its standalone 5G offering.
"It's a long-term contract, which is the most appropriate scenario for Telefonica as it maintains 4G providers in place and gives us stability to roll out and develop 5G," Telefonica's head of Operations and Network Joaquin Mata said in a statement.
"In 5G, all the providers have demonstrated they're supremely prepared... and we feel very comfortable having the best technological partners."
The 700MHz band will be up for grabs before the 21st July, in a twice-delayed auction in which operators Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone have all expressed interest.
The contracts include the possibility of the Scandinavian operators expanding current 4G services or migrating to 5G depending on their needs.
(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Nathan Allen and Louise Heavens)