The ICT sector in Spain has quickly recovered from the recent international health crisis and has taken advantage of the digital transformation push, enabled by the EU recovery funds. Spain is one of the largest economies in the European Union, and industry-specific solutions continue to find good opportunities in the private sector. U.S. companies are recognized as key suppliers of innovative products and services.
U.S. multinationals in IT equipment and software have a very strong position in the Spanish market due to their long-term commitment and presence in the market. More than 70 percent of ICT-related company headquarters are in two autonomous regions: Madrid and Catalonia (the region including Barcelona). The number of ICT companies in Spain is estimated at 30,000, adding 3.2 percent to Spanish GDP.
Telecommunication equipment: Spain’s 5G National Plan will be a driver for equipment upgrades in Spain, not only on mobile networks, but on the further development of their backbone fiber networks. Simultaneously, Spanish telcos have embarked on a consolidation process, such as the merger between Mas Movil and Orange, which will take effect in July 2022, pending the approval at European level. At the same time, they are selling assets such as towers and fiber networks to specialized companies. In addition, Spanish telcos are diversifying their business by taking advantage of the broad customer base, to offer insurance, alarms, mobile sales, and energy. The Spanish CMNC publishes an annual report on the Telecommunications and Audiovisual sector in Spain.
Cybersecurity: Demand is strong, with continued emphasis on adapting companies to telework, cloud adoption and increased threat of ransomware attacks. Industrial cybersecurity solutions have also strong demand.
Cloud Computing: The trend to move to hybrid or pure cloud solutions for companies has continued to grow in 2021.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Spain is promoting public-private collaboration programs to integrate artificial intelligence into the value chains of multiple vertical sectors, in order to promote the digital transformation of the economic fabric. The Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation is considering the location for the Spanish Agency for the Supervision of Artificial Intelligence. It would be in charge of regulatory development aimed at minimizing the risks that may arise from the use of Artificial Intelligence systems and is expected to drive additional investments in the sector.
The Spanish Government adopted in 2020 the Digital Strategy 2025, which aims to promote the digital transformation of the country through digital connectivity, strengthened cybersecurity, digitalization of public administrations and incorporation of artificial intelligence technologies, among other initiatives.
Additional planned investments are compiled in the Spanish Government Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan. The plan, announced on April 30th, 2021, for the period 2021-2023, outlines the roadmap for the modernization of the Spanish economy, the recovery of economic growth and job creation, and responds to the challenges of the next decade. This long-term perspective is expected to drive technology investment decisions both in the public and private spheres. The expected investment in these programs is USD 17.25 billion.
As an example, the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs is preparing two public subsidy plans for USD 269 million in 2022 to extend broadband to rural areas of the country. The “Unico Broadband Program” aims to bring 300 Mbps FTTH to specific rural area, while the second plan, called “Unico Rural Development”, is centered on the Government’s commitment to provide 100 percent of the population with 100 Mbps connectivity. A public consultation has been launched to define the model, which can be satellite, fixed wireless access or fiber.
Digital transformation and cloud adoption is driving investment in data centers in Spain. Major technology companies that have announced commitments in the last two years to open cloud computing centers in the country include AWS, IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle. According to the Spanish Association of Data Centers, the expected investment in developing data centers in Madrid is estimated to be USD 6.72 Million. These planned investments might offer opportunities to U.S.-based SMEs active in cloud and AI solutions and services, as Spanish companies must adapt to digital transformation challenges within the next few years.
Additionally, there are opportunities in diverse areas such as cybersecurity, with special focus on zero-trust approaches, and organizational resilience; ICT solutions enabling energy efficiency across different sectors, and digital twin technology which is increasing adoption by Spanish industrial companies.
For additional market information, please check out the entities and activities indicated below:
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation
- Spanish Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC)
- National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE)
- Spanish platform for public sector contracting
- Spanish ICT Association (AMETIC)
- Spanish Digital Economy Association (Adigital)
- IOTS World Congress Barcelona:
- Mobile World Congress Barcelona
- Smart Cities Expo World Congress Barcelona
- Integrated Systems Europe Barcelona
- Computing magazine
- Cybersecurity magazine SIC
U.S. Commercial Service Spain
ICT Specialist: Jesus Garcia