Terms and procedure for awarding 5G spectrum usage rights - launched for public consultation
Bucharest, 31 January 2019 - ANCOM has developed and launched for public consultation the Position Paper on awarding rights of use for the spectrum resources available in the frequency bands 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz, setting the objectives, principles, terms and procedure for awarding spectrum usage rights in the respective bands for the provision of broadband public electronic communications networks and services, including for the implementation of 5G in Romania. "We intend to auction off the available frequencies in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz bands by the end of this year. Technology neutral as they are, these bands are best suited for deploying 5G networks, which will drive the digital transformation we envisage for our economy, in Romania.", declared Sorin Grindeanu, President of ANCOM.
Spectrum resources available in the auction and licence validity period
This year, ANCOM will make available to the interested operators the spectrum resources available in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz bands. In the 700 MHz band, the Authority will auction off 2 x 30 MHz (FDD) and 1 x 15 MHz (SDL), in the 800 MHz band - 2 x 5 MHz (FDD), in the 1500 MHz band - 1 x 40 MHz (SDL) and in the 2600 MHz band - 2 x 40 MHz (FDD).
The validity period of the licences for all these spectrum resources will start on 1 January 2020. The spectrum usage rights in the 700 MHz and 1500 MHz bands, which have never been auctioned before, will be valid for 15 years.
The licences for the frequency spectrum to be auctioned out in the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands will be issued with a validity period of 10 years. In the 800 MHz band, Telekom Romania Mobile Communications, Orange and Vodafone have already been awarded spectrum use rights (licences), the validity of which ANCOM intends to extend until 31 December 2029, in order to align the expiry date of these licences with the one of the licences to be issued following this year's auction. Similarly, the Authority will extend the validity of the licences already held by Telekom Romania Mobile Communications, Orange, Vodafone and RCS&RDS in the 2600 MHz band.
In the 3400-3800 MHz band maximum 90 MHz (TDD mode) will be auctioned off for a shorter validity period (01.01.2020 – 31.12.2025) i.e. 6 years, and 400 MHz (TDD mode) for a longer period (01.01.2026 – 31.12.2035) i.e. 10 years. The shorter validity period of some spectrum usage rights was designed for the purpose of aligning the expiry date of these rights with that of the ones already awarded in this frequency band following the 2015 auction.
The awarding procedure
In awarding these spectrum usage rights, ANCOM proposes organising a competitive selection procedure similar to that of 2012. This procedure provides that an interested operator should submit an initial bid indicating the number of frequency blocks it intends to acquire in each of the available bands. The initial bids will show whether the demand exceeds, equals or is less than the amount of spectrum available in each of the frequency bands.
According to ANCOM's schedule, the auction will take place in the second half of 2019, and the licences are to be issued by 15 December 2019. The selection procedure will be regulated by an ANCOM Decision and will be detailed in the Terms of Reference. Both of these documents will be launched for prior public consultation.
Schedule of steps towards awarding the spectrum
Prior to organizing the actual awarding procedure, ANCOM will refarm the 3400-3600 MHz band and will conclude the cross-border coordination agreements on the use of frequencies with the neighbouring countries. Moreover, the Authority will conduct a spectrum monitoring campaign on the frequency resources to be auctioned off.
Upon consulting the documentation with the industry, ANCOM will organize the spectrum auction and will issue the winners' licences by the end of this year, and the operators will be able to use the frequencies acquired in the bands 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz (under the short-term licences) starting from 2020, respectively starting from 2026 (the frequencies in the 3400-3800 MHz band under the long-term licences).
ANCOM's Position Paper on awarding rights of use for the spectrum resources available in the frequency bands 694-790 MHz, 790-862 MHz, 1427-1517 MHz, 2500-2690 MHz, 3400-3800 MHz and 24.25- 27.5 GHz is available, in Romanian, here. The interested persons are invited to submit their comments and suggestions, by 04 March 2019, at the ANCOM headquarters (2 Delea Noua Street, Bucharest 3), directly to the ANCOM Registry Office or by means of ANCOM's regional divisions. Comments may also be sent by fax to +40 372 845 402 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more, on ANCOM's website, here...