2021 Integrated Annual Report
Integrating for Growth


Innovation at Cellnex is led by the Product Strategy and Innovation Department, which consists of three sections: New Product Strategy, Innovation, and Project Management Office. The Innovation area is responsible for monitoring the evolution of current technologies, as well as monitoring new technologies that may have an impact on the company's business (e.g. 6G). The New Product Strategy area is responsible for the design, validation, and launch of new innovative products and services (e.g. Edge Computing). Finally, the Project Management Office area transversally manages all administrative, legal, and economic aspects related to management. The main lines of work focus on future site design, broadband communications available anywhere, and security management (information, infrastructure, and people).

In addition to the material and human resources that Cellnex makes available to all Product Strategy and Innovation activities, Cellnex is investing €10 million in facilitating the conception, development, testing, and launch of new products and innovative solutions in the various countries in which it operates.

Access to communications

Successful completion of four 5G technology use cases in Andalusia and the start of the deployment of seven use cases in Catalonia.

In 2021, it is worth highlighting the successful completion of four 5G technology use cases in Andalusia and the start of the deployment of seven use cases in Catalonia. All these pilots are part of the RED.ES initiatives for the deployment of services, promoted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.

In the field of 5G pilots, Cellnex Spain has developed several initiatives in Andalusia jointly with  Vodafone and in collaboration with other companies:

These four use cases with Vodafone are:

  1. Precision Agriculture (automatic mango picking). Intelligent harvesting and crop automation through 5G: Cellnex has facilitated the integration of Artificial Intelligence in the EDGE computing, for data processing after capturing images of the fruit from cameras located on the harvesting robot, thus enabling efficient decision-making based on fruit ripeness.
  2. 5G Energy Efficiency. High-efficient shelter used as Edge data center: In this project Cellnex has designed a new generation shelter to be used in 5G sites that achieve low consumption and use of renewable energies. Besides, Cellnex designed a physical probe to test energy consumption in all the IT equipment of an edge datacenter. Cellnex conducted lab validation and on-site measurements to find out consumption patterns and allow optimization.
  3. 3. Rural Internet (Fixed Wireless Access). The incorporation of Cellnex technology into Vodafone's antennas to provide bandwidth in rural areas: This project has been developed over the last two years in Guadalema de los Quinteros (near Seville) where Vodafone has provided one of its sites so that Cellnex could take charge of the purchase and management of both the Huawei antennas to be placed on the site and the installation of CPE receivers on the roofs of the buildings for the use of 5G services. This has enabled the benefits of 5G broadband to be brought to rural areas where they can benefit from advanced video conferencing services and ultra-high-speed data access. The trials tested two different frequency bands: C-Band and millimetere wave band.
  4. 5G security(Port of Algeciras digitalization). 5G pilot project in the port of Algeciras. Two use cases were developed:
    • Streamlining the flow of vehicles through the Port to the ferry boarding areas: automatic guidance of vehicles by means of signalling on luminous panels which indicate to the driver the route to follow to the boarding area corresponding to the ticket previously purchased. For this purpose, a car plate recognition system based on video cameras connected to the 5G infrastructure is used, including MEC resources for image processing and consultation of shipping company databases.
    • Alerts related to the identification of suspicious persons: video processing on the MEC infrastructure, where the vectors associated with the faces of vehicle passengers are obtained and matched against the database of wanted individuals. The project envisages the visualization of the alerts through a dashboard installed in a control centre, as well as through glasses with VR/AR capability.

Pilots have also been developed in Catalonia with Masmóvil, Lenovo and Naecomunicaciones, among others.

5G Cataluña is an ambitious project to turn the city of Barcelona and its surroundings into a Hub for innovation and testing of different 5G solutions has focused its efforts on the design of the network throughout the city. To this end, it has worked intensively with Barcelona City Council and the different technology partners on the feasibility and deployment plan that will enable connectivity between the different areas:

  • The locations for the equipment, the fibre design to connect the equipment and the locations of the datacenters housing the different network elements have been defined. This year, the hardware equipment that will serve as the basis for the Edge Computing service and the development of advanced services has already been received. The first antennas with Open RAN technology and the 5G SA core that will be used to manage the 7 use cases have also been received.
  • Lastly, a pre-production laboratory has been created, which has allowed us to start integrating the different RAN and core software. This is a key piece to be able to integrate the developments of the applications that have already been finalised for two of the use cases: the Apps for La Boqueria market and the holography system for IESE.

Other very relevant innovation projects have also been developed, such as the digitization of the Port of Bristol.

Together with the Port of Bristol, the City of Bristol and the consortium of Gravity, a planned industrial estate 45 km from Bristol, Cellnex has proposed the creation of two interoperable private networks to assist Bristol in the creation of a leading Free Port in the UK. The project was submitted to the UK Government under the 5GUK Solutions Incentive Framework and was selected by DCMS to receive a grant to begin the process of digitalizing the Port of Bristol. The project will demonstrate during 2022 how private 5G networks can deliver efficiency and productivity improvements to the logistics ecosystem by:

  1. The ability to track in real-time location of containers, which improves port logistics management and efficiency of arrival/handling/shipping logistics. The system will use the accuracy that can be achieved with new tracking technologies to have the exact position with high precision of containers, from the time they arrive at the post, are transported across the city of Bristol and arrive at Gravity's production line.
  2. Enable improvements in road traffic management in collaboration with Bristol city authorities, including continuous traceability and geolocation, and tracking of goods and materials to coordinate movements between the Freeport and related areas. The aim is to be able to assess and minimise the impact of road traffic from container trailers leaving the port and transiting different intersections in the city of Bristol. Different advanced sensors will be used to obtain accurate data that will allow the administration to make decisions to improve the lives of its citizens.
  3. Replacing manually intensive, low-value processes with 5G-enabled autonomous intelligent systems. This project is highly innovative because of the cutting-edge technologies it uses: the latest generation of optical equipment, distributed radio networks based on Open RAN technology and Cellnex Edge Computing services are being used to provide advanced services.

This innovative network architecture will allow us to offer services with processing and decision-making capacity very close to the end-user and as part of the differential value of the private networks that are being built. In addition, this implementation will enable the use and control of 5G drones for perimeter surveillance of the port area.

During  2021 focus has been placed on the entire design, both at high and low level, of the infrastructure. Work has been carried out on the construction of the sites, the design of the architecture, the deployment of the fibre and the testing in a laboratory environment of the different technical innovations that are being developed to enable the different use cases.


In 2021 Cellnex submitted a project to the Spanish Government's Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) to build a "Smart NOC" (Network Operation Centre). The grant has been awarded and is expected to introduce Artificial Intelligence processes in Cellnex's NOCs in order to offer an improved service to its customers. This project joins the 6 existing projects that the innovation team is currently developing: AIMARS, Cybersec, Resisto, Resiltrack, Estiba and Bicisendas.

In addition, 2021 has also been a year in which the use of European Recovery Funds has been discussed. Thus, the  Product Strategy and Innovation teams at Cellnex have proposed to the Spanish Government almost twenty proposals for innovation projects in different areas such as the fight against the digital divide, the space industry, the connected vehicle, artificial intelligence and the management of critical infrastructures.

Resisto Project

The Resisto project has enabled Cellnex to collaborate in the development of a European critical infrastructure protection solution to improve risk control and resilience of communications against a wide range of cyber-physical threats, such as malicious attacks, natural disasters or unexpected network failures.

Led by an Italian company, the project has implemented an innovative platform that enables efficient decision making in the face of such attacks along several lines: prevention, protection, detection and reaction.

For the development of the project, Cellnex has worked with cyber-attack prevention algorithms for telecommunications networks, maritime networks and IoT. Thus, the system is able to minimise service disruption by implementing preventive mitigations. It has also improved the reliability of 5G Edge systems and integrated Machine Learning models for NFV MANO orchestration services, 5G SA core and network slicing.

Resiltrack Project

The Resiltrack project has made it possible to design and test a solution to improve preventive and predictive maintenance for the railway sector. The pillars of this solution have been a real-time information system on the state of railway infrastructures and the impact of adverse weather conditions. For communications, a LoRA network has been built that collects different sensors located on the tracks and catenaries that are processed on the Cellnex Smart platform. Based on the information collected, a system has been designed to predict future states, detect faults before they occur and mitigate their impact. 

"2021 has been the year of Open Innovation for Cellnex, creating different programmes for the search and acceleration of Startups. And not only with external programmes but also internally, opening up the world of participatory and business-oriented innovation."
José Antonio Aranda,
Global Innovation Director
Cellnex Bridge, a training and mentoring programme for startups.

The R&D+i projects and initiative being developed are periodically updated on the corporate website (https://www.cellnextelecom.com/en/projects/).

2021 has also been the year of the take-off of Open Innovation at Cellnex, a process that allows the Company to explore external capabilities to introduce potential new products, and which has significantly increased the analysis of solutions from startups, applied to improve existing products or create new ones that enrich the Cellnex portfolio. This process has even led Cellnex to prospect with leading innovation companies in Israel or with public entities in England, Ireland and France.

In addition, the Product Strategy and Innovation team, together with the Cellnex Foundation, has also launched a startup acceleration programme in 2021 under the name of Cellnex Bridge. A training and mentoring programme for startups of a social nature, which in this first edition has been considered a success, with the presentation of more than 50 proposals. Further information on Cellnex Bridge programme in Chapter 4. Being a facilitator of social progress

In order to continue sharing knowledge and making innovation accessible to other internal areas, throughout 2021 the Product Strategy and Innovation team worked closely with the Human Resources department to organise the "Innovation Talks". These aim to bring all areas of the Company closer to the latest developments in which Cellnex is investing efforts, as well as to extend the culture of innovation and give the opportunity to gather ideas to the entire workforce of the company. In this regard, they have highlighted the interest in topics such as 5G Living Labs Andalucía, Corporate Venturing, 6G or 5G Broadcasting.

Innovation Corner

In 2021, the Innovation Corner was launched, a website to make available to all Cellnex employees, and especially to the Commercial team, all the information on Innovation projects, reports on technological advances and presentations of the new products that Cellnex is working on.

The Innovation Corner is a space for sharing knowledge of trends, innovation initiatives and multimedia material on all activities where Cellnex looks to the future.

5G: The fifth generation of telecommunications systems

"In 2021 we have secured a solid foundation to position Cellnex at the forefront of the 5G private networks industry. This year we are proud to have included in our portfolio six live deployments of 5G Private Networks - in four countries - ,a strong testimonial of our already deployed base of 35 4G private networks and power of Edzcom, now proudly a Cellnex company."
Mikko Uusitalo
Global MCPN Director

5G is the next generation critical network technology that will enable innovation and support digital transformation in Europe, as it is a technology that provides near-universal, ultra-high bandwidth, low latency and ultra reliable connectivity. In addition, 5G will also be a key enabler of artificial intelligence systems, providing real-time data collection and analysis. At the same time, it will take the cloud to a new dimension by enabling distributed computing and storage.

As such, it is expected that in the upcoming years there will be an intense deployment of 5G to serve a wide range of applications and sectors, for example in connected automated mobility, eHealth, energy management, security applications and more.

In this context, Cellnex, as an infrastructure operator, will have to adapt the sites to accommodate this new technology and do so with the required quality and speed. 5G is an opportunity and an obligation for Cellnex to demonstrate once again its willingness to serve its customers. To this end, in 2021, the sites and the infrastructures have been adapted for the deployment of 5G in all the geographies in which Cellnex operates. In addition, Cellnex is working with its customers on the development of 5G technology.

First private network based on 5G technology in Spain

In 2021, the Innovation Corner was launched, a website to make available to all Cellnex employees, and especially to the Commercial team, all the information on Innovation projects, reports on technological advances and presentations of the new products that Cellnex is working on.

The Innovation Corner is a space for sharing knowledge of trends, innovation initiatives and multimedia material on all activities where Cellnex looks to the future.

Cellnex as enabler of 5G in Portugal

Cellnex has around 2,800 works and studies in Portugal for the adaptation of sites to 5G technology. In this sense, the impacts of the 5G auction at Cellnex Portugal are manifested in the form of a significant effort to adapt infrastructures to accommodate a greater intensity of equipment from the commercial launch of 5G services.

First 5G laboratory dedicated to industry 4.0 in France

Cellnex France and Edzcom, a subsidiary of Cellnex and specialized in mobile network solutions, signed an alliance with MGA Technologies, specialized in the design and production of customized machines for the biopharmaceutical and 4.0 industry, for the development of the first fully dedicated 5G laboratory to the industry of the future.

With the launch of this first 5G laboratory for industry 4.0 and biopharmaceuticals, MGA Technologies intends to boost its ecosystem by using it as a laboratory for its innovations, but also as a totally safe place for experimentation, accessible to all its industrial partners.

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