On January 19, Jaime Martorell, the PERTE Chip commissioner, visited Málaga Tech Park. During his visit, he met with representatives from Innova IRV and UMA and gave a lecture at the Digital Eye. During his talk, Martorell recalled an AT&T semiconductor manufacturing plant that existed in Tres Cantos, Madrid, in 1956. The plant was one of three identical ones in Florida, USA, and the technology came from Bell Labs, owned by AT&T at the time.
Bell Labs made a number of important advances in semiconductors and in 1947, its engineers introduced the first semiconductor device. In 1956, John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley received the Nobel Prize. Today, Bell Labs is owned by Nokia, which has made several acquisitions and sales over the years.
In the past, Telefónica was one of the driving forces behind the Tres Cantos plant, participating with 20% and two board members in the initiative. The visit of Maria Marced, vice president of TSMC, the world’s largest chip producer, offered many suggestions and recommendations for the chip sector. Telecom operators and their solution providers play an important role in chip development and production. In Valencia, companies such as DS2 and Max Linear sell and design chips for a wide variety of technology applications, including 5G, Wifi, IoT and home connectivity. However, in Spain, in the past, it was decided to stop developing hardware and this had an impact on the semiconductor industry. The Tres Cantos plant, closely linked to Bell Labs technology, did not manage to survive the new higher density technologies.
However, thanks to the reinvention of companies like Telefónica and the creation of new technological adventures by brilliant engineers, the technology sector in Spain continues to advance.