The government sets a date for the auction of the 700 MHz band, essential for the deployment of 5G: in March
We are still waiting for you the 700 MHz band was auctioned, part of the radioelectric spectrum that until recently it occupied the DTT and that it will be essential for the deployment of 5G at a massive level. For reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tendering of the frequency band was delayed Y was rescheduled for the first quarter of 2021.
Now Roberto Sánchez, Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures, has confirmed the official date: in March. It is not ruled out that the starting price (1,170 million) may change until that date, since some telcos and companies have shown their dissatisfaction with 1) the price, which they consider expensive and 2) due to certain obligations related to the coverage offer .
One more step for the deployment of 5G
As Sánchez explained to EFE, the process is in the analysis phase. 19 allegations have been submitted to the bidding conditions (public since December last year) and the government hopes to resolve them throughout this month. The price has been one of the main protagonists of the allegations, since some telecos consider that it is high. In Sánchez’s words, auctions “are not expensive or cheap per se, but they come at a price and from there the market determines their value.”
Another important claim has to do with the conditions of coverage. In the auction rules published at the end of last year, it was established that telecos have the obligation to offer, for example, 100% coverage in populations of 20,000 and 50,000 inhabitants in three years, depending on the block. One of the demands of the companies involved in the auction is to extend the term to five years. This proposition is also being studied.
The auction will consist of five blocks totaling 30 MHz paired and another three blocks only valid downstream. All will be statewide and the concessions will have a duration of 20 years (without extensions or automatic renewal). The auction payment will be one time, something designed to avoid deferral interest.
The juiciest block is A, which will be taken by the operator most committed to making an ambitious deployment. This is priced at 320 million for 2 x 10 MHz, lower than the rest of the blocks. However, the operator that achieves it will undertake to provide coverage in the 700 MHz band to all populations with more than 20,000 inhabitants (25% coverage the first year, 60% the second year and 100% the third year, as minimum).
Blocks B, C, D and E will have a price of 200 million euros for each 2 x 5 MHz block. The main requirement of these blocks is to achieve a higher level of coverage during the first year. Specifically, they will have to offer 50% coverage in towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants the first year, 75% the second year and 100% the third year. These dates are precisely those that have raised complaints from operators.
Any of the operators who get one of these five blocks will have to offer coverage in the 700 MHz band in all provincial capitals, capitals of autonomous communities, high-speed railway stations, highways, highways and state or regional multi-lane highways. Finally, blocks F, G and H do not have hedging obligations and are worth 10 million euros for each 5 MHz block.
Thus, the panorama of 5G in Spain is as follows: the 3.5 GHz band was auctioned years ago and is already being used for the deployment of the current 5G. The 700 MHz band will be auctioned in March and the 26 GHz band (mmWave) will do so, according to Sánchez, by the end of the year. As there is no commercial equipment, Sánchez believes that “it does not make much sense to auction it now, because operators should pay for something they cannot use.”
Via | Five days