“We can boast that we have been instrumental in driving the real utility of 5G technology,” Juan Cambeiro

Meet Juan Cambeiro, Innovation at Telefónica de España. Discover his professional career and personal vision.

Meet Juan Cambeiro, Innovation at Telefónica de España. .

Juan Cambeiro

Reading time: 6 min

How long have you been with Telefónica and what is your assessment of your time here?

I have been working in the Telefónica group since September 2001 and I think I have been very lucky in my professional career in this company. I started in what was then the Telefónica Móviles corporation, in a project that sought to define and launch a network services architecture that was common to all the company’s mobile operators. The global services team was led at the time by Miguel Menchén, and this time taught me to think globally, and to consider the enormous impact that global decisions have when you have multiple operations in different countries.

Years followed in which we tried to transfer all these conclusions to the world of standards, so that the Telco ecosystem would join us and push in the same direction as the work we had defined in previous years. It was a time of intense work that brought about a huge change in perspective on how we saw ourselves at Telefónica. Negotiating contributions with large companies in Asia and the US, many of whom don’t know Telefónica at all, I think is an excellent exercise for those of us who have been with the company for a long time.

And finally I ended up in innovation at Telefónica de España, where I have been enjoying a challenging job for almost 13 years, with projects that are always different, and with the privilege of being able to work with any company in the Spanish business world. Innovating with the client has allowed us to develop a high-performance team that has ended up working with the whole company: with sales, with Marketing, with Strategy, with the technical areas… in a way of operating that I believe would be the envy of any other company’s Innovation department.

Shipyards, car factories, sailing competitions, hospitals… at Telefónica you have the privilege of being able to innovate in any sector, and that is priceless.

Is there any project at Telefónica that you feel particularly satisfied with or proud of?

Working in Innovation, there are many projects that I have enjoyed. However, I think there are two projects that marked a before and after.

Our private networks project with the PSA group, in their two car factories in Villaverde and Vigo, where we ended up almost “living” inside the factories and walking kilometres inside them. This project meant a change within the Innovation management, towards a greater focus on innovation with the end customer instead of carrying out internal tests, which was a before and after. Although innovating with customers is more demanding, it is much more fun and useful for the company, and generates feedback and knowledge of customer needs that is very difficult to obtain in any other way. Moreover, this innovation ended up being a commercial service at Telefónica. You can’t ask for more.

And to add another type of project, I would mention the Golf Open held in Madrid in 2021, where we deployed a private 5G network for live video streaming from TV cameras and connected drones during the competition, as well as other tracking devices. Being able to observe first-hand the complexity and scale of media coverage of this type, and the complexity of live TV in high quality formats, was a project that made us learn a lot about the possibilities of 5G in these environments, and which we applied in subsequent projects such as the Sail GP sailing competition in Cadiz.

What do you think Telefónica has contributed to society?

Over the 100 years of Telefónica’s existence, it is difficult to encompass the importance and impact that this company has had on the social and business fabric of Spain. From having launched the world’s first public data network, in the same years that Arpanet (the forerunner of the Internet) was being created in the USA, which had a notable impact on the development of the country’s banking infrastructure, for example, to having helped companies such as Barrabés to become one of the first sports shops in the world to sell online, to having made Spain one of the countries in the world with the best fibre infrastructure, with all that this entailed during the forced digitalisation of society during the years of the pandemic.

On our side, I believe that my colleagues and I can boast of having been instrumental in driving the real utility of 5G technology, with Telefónica being recognised on more than one occasion at European level as the leading country in exploring use cases within this technology.

Most importantly, realising that all these achievements were not made by Telefónica alone, but always in close collaboration with large companies and customers in the Spanish business world, who have set the path for us to follow in order to be a company of value.

Where do you see Telefónica in the future?

I believe that this path of continuing to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes, and adapting all our technology, catalogue of services and partner ecosystem to serve their needs, will continue to push us to grow, evolve and improve continuously.

Furthermore, I believe that in the digitalisation of society and industry in this increasingly competitive and difficult-to-predict environment, telecommunications, along with energy, will be one of the essential pillars.

Access to knowledge to be able to adapt to these changing environments, to the omnipresent artificial intelligence, the interconnection of things and communication between objects in search of more efficient solutions to help us with the challenges of the future, will require telecommunications companies to be up to the task.

In short: I believe our role will become more and more important, we will become more and more essential, and society and businesses will demand more and more solutions from us.

Could you live without a mobile phone?

I don’t think so. I use it for so many things that every time I leave it parked on a shelf, I have to go and get it within 5 minutes: either my children ask me to remove the parental control when they need to look at something on my mobile, or they send me a password to access an internet portal, or I have a photo I want to show, or I need to make a quick purchase, or they are simply calling me. It is clear that the mobile phone is the digital hub of our lives.

Help us solve one of the great enigmas of humanity: the potato omelette… With onion or without onion?

Phew! With onion, without onion, with chorizo, with peppers, with tuna, with mayonnaise… I think I like them all, but if I had to choose, my option would be with onion.

What crazy idea would you like Telefónica to come up with for its centenary?

A couple of years ago we took a robot waiter to MWC that caused a sensation. I think it would be nice to have a skewer bar that would be served by the robotic waiter from the movie “Passengers”.

Nominate another colleague to appear in this section

I nominate my colleagues Óscar García Cantón, and Irene Cañizares Álvarez to give us a more recent view.

In #Thespanishomelettething tag section we interview Telefónica’s employees on a variety of topics, while trying to solve one of humanity’s greatest dilemmas.

The Spanish omelette ranking







Get into the ranking! We want to know about you – tell us your story!
* This interview is aimed at Telefónica’s employees


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