National 5G Plans and Strategies

Main points

  • Between July 2017 and September 2017, RTR launched a public consultation on 5G spectrum auctions.
  • 4-3.8 GHz SCA (Simple Clock Auction) took place in March 2019.
  • 700 MHz/1500 MHz/2100 MHz, expected in Q1 2020
  • 5G Strategy for Austria, April 2018.
  • All MNOs started 5G trials.
  • T-Mobile Austria 5G launch in March 2019

RTR consulted three times on 5G spectrum between July 2017 and February 2018, finally opting for a SCA on 3.4-3.6 GHz bands scheduled in February 2019. On May 28th, 2018, TKK decided on the revision of the Position Paper on Infrastructure Sharing in Mobile Networks.

The Austrian Government set up a steering group for 5G in February 2017. The “5G strategy for Austria” document was approved in April 2018.

The document defines three phases:

  • Pre-commercial 5G tests are expected to be held during the first phase by mid-2018
  • By year-end 2020, nationwide availability of 100 Mbps connections should be almost reached. This creates the basis for a nationwide expansion of 5G. At the same time, the market launch of 5G in all provincial capitals should take place.
  • In Phase 3, 5G should be accessible across the main traffic roads by year-end 2023, followed by nationwide coverage two years later.

It lists 24 actions in terms of spectrum, funding, research…, translating into ten concrete measures for 5G applications.

On Dec 20, 2018, the consultation on the product and auction design for the award 700/1500/2100 MHz started. The tender is expected in Autumn 2019 and the auction in Q1 2020.

On June 2019, RTR issued a consultation on potential assignments of the 2.3 GHz and 26 GHz bands. The 2.3 GHz band was mentioned in the 2016 Spectrum Release Plan whereas the 26 GHz was not.

Royal Decrees adopted in July 2018 among which draft regarding the 700 MHz, 1500 MHz and 3600 MHz bands. Plans released in September 2018.

In July 2018, Royal Decrees were adopted among which draft regarding the 700 MHz, 1500 MHz and 3600 MHz bands. In September 2018, the BIPT released its plans for the introduction of 5G in Belgium. 700 MHz, 3400-3800 MHz and 1500 MHz (SDL) frequencies are expected to be auctioned fall 2019. The 26 GHz auction will not take place before 2021. Upper frequencies (31.8-33.4 GHz and 40.5-43.5 GHz) should be auctioned as from 2022.

In October 2018, the BIPT published its national strategy for the 700 MHz band.

5G border corridor: Bulgaria – Greece – Serbia.

The CRC closed a public consultation on frequency allocations in October 2017. It proposed to sell eight blocks of 5 MHz in the 1.5 GHz band (1452 MHz-1492 MHz), three paired blocks of 5 MHz in the 2GHz band (1920 MHz-1935 MHz/2110 MHz-2125 MHz), 14 paired 5 MHz blocks of frequency division duplex (FDD) spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band (2500 MHz-2570 MHz/2620 MHz-2690 MHz), ten blocks of 5 MHz TDD spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band (2570 MHz-2620 MHz), 34 blocks of 5 MHz in the 3.6GHz band (3430 MHz-3600 MHz) and further 22 blocks of 5 MHz TDD in the 3.6 GHz band (3645 MHz-3700 MHz and 3745 MHz-3800 MHz).

In July 2018, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia signed an agreement to develop an experimental 5G cross-border corridor (Thessaloniki – Sofia – Belgrade) that will test autonomous vehicles.

In December 2018, the Bulgarian regulator, the CRC, has issued a consultation on its planned spectrum policy activities for the next three years. CRC is planning to redistribute spectrum in the 3400MHz-3800MHz band for 5G use.

Strategy for Broadband Development in Croatia 2016-2020

The Strategy for Broadband Developmentin Croatia for 2016-2020 was adopted in July 2016. It aims at achieving full broadband deployment by a technology neutral approach. The estimated budget for the implementation of the Strategy measures is circa 770 MEUR.

A round table on “introduction of the 5G network in Croatia” was held in May 2018.

Updated Cyprus Broadband Plan 2016-2020 available.

In 2016, the Cyprus Broadband Plan 2016-2020 was published and updated in December 2018, in order to be aligned with the targets of the European Gigabit Society and the 5G Action Plan.

Τhe document covers the strategic objectives, the broadband actions and also the national roadmap for 5G. Actually, the Official procedure for licencing the 5G priorities bands (700 MHz, 3.6 GHz, 26 GHz) is expected in Q4 2019.

700 MHz

Cyprus is working hard to resolve outstanding problems relating to the 700MHz band and include it in the auction of 5G spectrum since there is a cross-border coordination problem with a third country (Turkey).

3.4 -3.8 GHz band

There is growing interest in the market for 5G, so in January 2019 the government gave three (3) pilot (trial) national licences in 3.4 -3.8 GHz band to the three (3) existing mobile operators, with 100 MΗz bandwidth each, in order to test the equipment and the relevant applications.

26 GHz

Cyprus is planning to also authorize this band according to the expected harmonized EU Decision.

National Plan for the Development of Next Generation Networks 2016-2020.

3.7 GHz spectrum auctioned off – Spectrum auctions in the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz frequencies scheduled for 2019.

The Government of the Czech Republic adopted the National Plan for the Development of Next Generation Networks in October 2016.

CTU auctioned off 3.7 GHz spectrum in 2017 to four bidders, including two new players:

  • Telecom 5G: two 40 MHz blocks 3720 MHz-3760 MHz and 3760 MHz-3800 MHz
  • O2 Czech Republic: one block 3680 MHz-3720 MHz
  • PODA: 3640 MHz-3680 MHz
  • Vodafone Czech Republic: one block 3600 MHz-3640 MHz

Each 40 MHz block was sold for CZK203 million (9.2 million USD), for a total of CZK1.015 billion.

This spectrum seems to be dedicated to “Geographically localised BWA with fixed, mobile or nomadic terminals” and not 5G (source: CTU – http://spektrum.ctu.cz/en/band/3400-3600-mhz?filter%5BfrequencyFrom%5D=3&filter%5BfrequencyFromUnit%5D=GHz&filter%5BfrequencyTo%5D=4&filter%5BfrequencyToUnit%5D=GHz).

The 5G Action Plan for Denmark was published in February 2019 by the Danish Energy Agency. (https://ens.dk/sites/ens.dk/files/Tele/5g_action_plan_for_denmark.pdf.

 

According to the 5G Action Plan, the 3.5 GHz band is expected to be made available for 5G in 2020. It is further expected that 5G will be introduced in the 26 GHz band afterwards.

 

In March 2018, the Danish Energy Agency launched a consultation (including a draft Information Memorandum) for the auction of spectrum licenses in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz and 2300-2400 MHz bands.

 

Spectrum licenses in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz and 2300-2400 MHz bands were auctioned in March 2019. All Danish operators, TDC, Hi3G and TT-Netvaerket, were awarded spectrum, raising a total of 296 million EUR. The 700 MHz and 900 MHz licenses are valid from April 2020, while the 2300-2400 MHz band licenses are valid from April 2019.

Estonia conducted a consultation on 5G in April 2018. The NRA, TJA, indicated in May 2018 that an auction would be organised for the 3400 MHz-3800 MHz (“3600 MHz”) spectrum.

Early award of trial licenses to a large number of companies (October 2015-October 2017)

700 MHz frequencies assigned in November 2016

3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum auctions scheduled took place in September 2018.

Elisa, first 5G network in Europe launched in June 2018

Early award of trial licences to a large number of companies (October 2015-October 2017)

5G Test Network Finland is a consortium of industrial partners (vendors, including Nokia, MNOs including Telia and Elisa, FICORA, Finnish universities and research institutes including Aalto, Oulu, Turku, VTT…) aiming at providing the best and most appealing 5G test network environment and ecosystem.

At the end of 2018, the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications has published a new strategy for digital infrastructure. The strategy contains Finland’s 5G deployment plan and deals especially with frequency bands 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz.

Consultation on 5G, 2016

Trials licenses and trial cities, 2017

5G pilot window, Jan. 2018

Provision of mid-band spectrum for trials in selected cities.

Ongoing discussions and study to open up 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz spectrum to 5G.

5G initiatives

The 5G road began in 2016 when ARCEP launched a public consultation on 5G. The process accelerated in 2017 when ARCEP consulted on its 5G roadmap and awarded trial licences.

  • In March 2017, ARCEP published a report in “5G: Issues and Challenges”
  • In January 2017, ARCEP launched a public consultation on “New frequencies for the regions, businesses 5G and innovation”.
  • 5G trial authorisation in Lille, Douai, Bordeaux and Lyon in February 2018
  • Creation of a 5G pilot window  in January 2018. ARCEP opened a 5G pilot window for assigning frequencies to stakeholders wanting to perform full-scale 5G pilot trials (ports, hospitals, connected roadways…).
  • On May 22nd, 2018, ARCEP launched a public consultation on making the pioneer 26 GHz band available to kick-start 5G rollouts. It ran until 18 June 2018.
  • 5G trial authorisation in Marseille (Orange), Bordeaux ( Bouygues Telecom), Nantes and Toulouse (SFR)
  • Mid-July 2018, ARCEP disclosed the French 5G roadmap and announced the launch of four priority areas:
    1-Free up and allocate 5G spectrum; ARCEP is currently working hard on future connectivity needs and on freeing-up and awarding 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum
    2-Facilitate development of new uses and applications
    3-Support deployment of new infrastructures
    4-Ensure transparency and discussion on 5G deployments and on public exposure
  • A public consultation on the 1.5 GHz band is expected during summer 2018.
  • A public consultation on award procedures, procedures sequencing and on requirements is scheduled for October 2018.
  • The work on best practices in terms of 5G deployment is to begin in Autumn 2018.
  • In H2 2018, discussions are organised on verticals (connected vehicle, industry 4.0).
  • Live scale tests are awaited for early 2019.
  • In the first half 2019, the Government expects to organise a major event on 5G.
  • The call for applications is scheduled for the second half 2019.
5G timeline in France
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of 17 July 2018

Other public initiatives

The other public initiatives aim to create appropriate ecosystem in the country to create a dynamic buoyant ecosystem favorable to innovation:

  • The initiative “La French tech”
  • The initiative “France Très Haut Débit” (Optic Fiber)
  • The programme “Nouvelle France Industrielle” (New Industrial France) created in October 2013 by French government to boost productivity and investments in 34 industrial sectors. The initial budget of 3.7 billion EUR. The programme gathers industrial players, public institutions, competition committees, operators, and well-established research organizations for 13 priority actionswhere fiber broadband and 5G are key elements.

“5G for Germany”, Autumn 2016

5G spectrum roadmap, 2018

5G initiatives

The Bundesnetzagentur published its “Frequency Kompass” in July 2016 in a view to identify areas for regulatory action on spectrum for 5G. More detailed Points of Orientation were published in December 2016.

The Government launched in Autumn 2016 its “5G Initiative for Germany”. In a paper released in September 2017, the Federal Government describes the national 5G strategy (context, actions, rollouts) over the period to 2025. It defines five field of actions, key milestones and allocates 80 MEUR to 5G research initiatives in 5G research centres:

5G strategy in 5 steps
Source: The Federal Government, 5G Strategy for Germany, 2017
Key milestones of 5G strategy for Germany
Source: The Federal Government, 5G Strategy for Germany, as at July 2017
5G research centers in Germany
Source: The Federal Government, 5G Strategy for Germany, as at July 2017

Based on the submitted views, the German NRA released key elements and launched a formal demand for nationwide assignments in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands in June 2017.

In January 2018, the German NRA released a draft consultation setting out that scarce spectrum in the 2 and 3.6 GHz bands would be auctioned. Decisions I and II were published in May 2018.

  • In the 2 GHz band, 2×40 MHz will be made available as from 1st, January 2021. An additional 2×20 MHz will be available as from 1stJanuary 2026.
  • In the 3.6 GHz band (3.4-3.7 GHz), some of the spectrum is assigned de facto on a nationwide basis (until 2021/2022) will be available as from 1stJanuary 2022 (earlier stage as from 2019). Other public initiatives

Award conditions and auctions rules for 5G were released on November 26th, 2018.

5G spectrum auctions is scheduled for spring 2019. The qualification procedure is open from November 26th, 2018 until January 25th, 2019. Coverage conditions have been strengthened while the 5G timetable seems to have been softened. Conditions are set in two stages (2022 and 2024).

5G timeline in Germany
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of 17 July 2018

Upcoming trial licences in 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies with award of licences in Q4 2019

No major trials to date

5G cross-border corridor (Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia)

EETT expects to see 5G trials using upcoming trial licences.

EETT expects to award 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum in Q4 2019.

In July 2018, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia signed an agreement to develop an experimental 5G cross-border corridor (Thessaloniki – Sofia – Belgrade) that will test autonomous vehicles.

“Digital Success Programme 2.0”. Strategic study.

European 5G hub for 5G

In June 2016, NMHH auctioned off 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum to Vodafone and Digi.

In July 2017, the domestic Government stated three major objectives for Hungary in its “Digital Success Programme 2.0”. Strategic study.

  • Hungary to become a European hub for 5G developments by 2018
  • Hungary to play a leading regional role in testing applications based on 5G technology
  • Hungary to be among the first to adopt 5G technology after 2020.

The 5G coalition with up to 50 Hungarian government institutions, companies business chambers, universities, research institutes and professional and civic organisations was formed mid-June 2017. The 5G Coalition set goals including drawing up a 5G development strategy and creating a testing environment to give Hungary a say in setting global 5G standards, aiming for the nation to become an early 5G adopter from 2020.

3.4-3.8 GHz

350 MHz of TDD spectrum has already been auctioned in 2017. Licenses for 5G services will start in January 2019 and will expire on 31 July 2032 (fifteen years).

“The Auction resulted in the successful assignment of all 350 MHz of TDD spectrum. The Auction offered this spectrum in 594 lots spread over nine geographic regions (four rural and five urban) and is assigned on a contiguous basis.” (source: ComReg)

  • Imagine Communications Ireland Ltd (Imagine), currently the largest Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) obtained spectrum rights of use for 60 MHz in each of the rural regions;
  • Airspan Spectrum Holdings Ltd (Airspan), a new entrant and the UK arm of a US global provider of 4G broadband wireless systems and solutions. Airspan’s products serve operators and markets such as smart utilities, transportation and public safety in both licensed and licence exempt frequency bands. Airspan obtained spectrum rights of use for 25 MHz in the rural regions and 60 MHz in the cities;
  • Vodafone Ireland Ltd, a mobile network operator obtained 85 MHz in rural regions and 105 MHz in the cities;
  • Three Ireland Hutchison Ltd, obtained 100 MHz nationally;
  • Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd, obtained 80 MHz in the rural regions and 85 MHz in the cities.

 

26 GHz

The 26 GHz auction took place from April to June 2018.

840 MHz or 15 of 19 Lots of 2 × 28 MHz in the range 24.745 – 25.277 GHz paired with 25.753 GHz – 26.285 was auctioned to the three mobile players in place. Each mobile player got 280 MHz. Vodafone paid 550,000 EUR while Three and Meteor Mobile paid 350,000 EUR.

It consisted of a “sealed bid combinatorial auction” using a second price rule and applying processes and rules as set out in the Information Memorandum. Winning Bidders will pay approximately 5 million EUR for spectrum rights of use, comprising 1.25 million EUR in upfront fees an3.75 million EUR in spectrum usage fees which will be paid over the 10 year duration of the licences.

Main points

  • 5G for Italy, 2016, 5G strategy, pushed by TIM, around identified cities and application areas.
  • Trial licences and trial cities, mid-2017.
  • 700 MHz/3.5 GHz auctions in November 2018, 26 GHz spectrum auctions, October 2018, first in Europe.
  • Launch of Vodafone and TIM 5G service in June 2019

 

The Italian 5G strategy kick-started late in 2016 when the domestic NRA announced the start of a fact-finding survey for the development of mobile and wireless systems towards the 5G and the utilization of the spectrum above 6 GHz.

In March 2017, the Government selected five 5G trial cities, including Milan (Vodafone), Prato (Wind Tre-Open Fiber), L’Aquila (Wind Tre-Open Fiber), Bari and Matera (Telecom Italia-Fastweb-Huawei Technologies), that will use 100 MHz of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum. Provisional licences are valid from September 2017 to 2020.

At year-end 2017, the “Bari-Matera plan” involving MNOs, cities, research centers and equipment vendors was unveiled and began. The 60 MEUR over four years (2018-2021) plan gathers 55 partners including seven universities and research centers, public interest communities, vertical leaders, start-ups and telecom players (TIM, Fastweb, Huawei). The plan focuses on ten application areas including media/virtual reality, smart port, smart city, smart agriculture, public safety, industry 4.0, health 5.0, road safety, tourism and culture, and environmental monitoring over 70 use cases.

In May 2018, the NRA announced 5G multi-band spectrum auctions (in the 700 MHz, 3.6-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz bands). 700 MHz and 26 GHz spectrum auctions ended respectively in September and October 2018.  The five 26 lots of 26 GHz spectrum raised 167.3 million EUR. 700 MHz frequencies raised globally 2.04 billion EUR. The 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum auction hit over 4 billion EUR.

5G timeline in Italy
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of 17 July 2018

Coverage obligations

To ensure widespread improvements in mobile coverage across the Italy, the Ministry of Economic Development, based on the national regulatory authority (AGCOM) rules, has established coverage obligations for the 700 MHz FDD band and 3600-3800 MHz band.

Concerning the 700 MHz FDD band, the coverage obligations will require winning bidders to roll out improved mobile coverage of national population, tourist locations and main national road and rail transport routes.

Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of 17 July 2018

Concerning the 3600-3800 MHz band, the coverage obligations require 80 MHz winning bidders to roll out improved mobile coverage in a mandatory list of municipalities. Within 90 days from the date of the award, the winning bidders have to submit a list of municipalities to be covered to the Ministry of Economic Development. Then, the winning bidders have 72 months from the date of the award to prove they are ready to provide on demand the 5G service in all municipalities of their mandatory list. The mandatory list has to include at least 10% of all Italian municipalities under 5.000 inhabitants. All Italian municipalities under 5.000 inhabitants out the mandatory lists are signed in a free list. Any subject, which is not an TLC operator, from 120 days from the award can declare to the Ministry its willingness to offer the service in a municipalities of free list, using leasing contract with 3600-3800 MHz winning bidders.

Finally concerning the 3600-3800 MHz band, the coverage obligations require 20 MHz winning bidders to reach the coverage of 5% of the population of each Italian region.

In September-October 2018, the NRA auctioned 60 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum for 2 billion EUR, 200 MHz of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum for 4 billion EUR and 1,000 MHz of 26 GHz for 167 million EUR.

  • Globally 1,275 MHz are offered for sale broken down into 700 MHz frequencies (75 MHz), all the upper part of the 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies (200 MHz divided in two blocks of 80 MHz and two blocks of 20 MHz in 3.6-3.8 GHz) and all the upper part of 26 GHz frequencies (1 GHz divided in five 200 MHz blocks in 26.5-27.5 GHz).
  • Telecom Italia, Wind, Tre, Vodafone, Illiad and Fastweb submitted bids for about 2.48 billion EUR, in line with the government’s expectations (2.5 billion EUR). As a new player, Illiad was allowed to bid for a reserve package of up to three blocks in 700 MHz frequencies worth of 676.5 million EUR.
  • The process started mid-September and ended on October 2nd, 2018. The whole auction ended after 14 days of intense bidding, far above expectations, reaching 6.55 billion EUR of which 4 billion EUR for the highly-coveted mid-frequencies.
  • The 700 MHz auction process ended mid-September 2018. 700 MHz frequencies raised globally 2.04 billion EUR. Telecom Italia announced it had paid 680.2 million EUR for 2×10 MHz. Illiad paid 676.5 million EUR for 2×10 MHz. Vodafone spent 683.2 million EUR for 2×10 MHz. Licenses are valid 15 years, starting in 2022.
  • The mi-band auction ended on October 2nd, 2018, 14 days after start and 171 rounds. Telecom Italia and Vodafone won the largest blocks of spectrum (80 MHz each) for approx.1.7 billion EUR each. Respectively they paid 1.694 billion EUR and 1.685 billion EUR. Wind and Iliad paid 483.9 million EUR each for 20 MHz of spectrum each (483.92 million EUR for Wind and 483.9 million EUR for Illiad). Overall, the 3.7 GHz auction hit over 4 billion EUR reaching 4.3 billion EUR. The average price of spectrum closed at 18 cEUR/MHz/PoP/10 years significantly higher than in the UK or in Spain.
  • The auction for 26 GHz frequencies have not shown a huge interest by players. The five lots were allocated, raising a total of 167.3 million EUR. Telecom Italia paid its lot 33 million EUR, Illiad received another lot for a little less at 32.9 million EUR, while Fastweb, Wind and Vodafone paid 32.6 million EUR each.
  • On 21 February, TIM Italy and Vodafone have agreed on a passive network sharing deal for 5G including all 22,000 antenna sites controlled by the operators.

100 MHz of 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies partially auctioned off in November 2017. LMT obtained the two 50 MHz blocks (3400 MHz-3450 MHz and 3650 MHz-3700 MHz) for the reserve price of 250,000 EUR apiece. The concessions are valid for 10 years, from January 2019 to December 2028.

Remaining 50 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum auctioned off in September 2018. SPRK auctioned off 50 MHz of spectrum for 5G services at 3550-3600 MHz to Tele2 Latvia in September 2018. The auction raised 6.5 million EUR for a 10-year licence valid from January 1st, 2019.

RRT opened a public consultation on the use of 3.4-3.8 GHz and 3.8-4.2 GHz frequencies from April to May 2018. A second public consultation on the use of 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies was issued between October and November 2018. The consultation closed in April 2019.

3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies are expected to be awarded in 2019. 700 MHz frequencies are expected to be awarded before 2022.

5G Strategy, September 2018.

Two public consultations have been launched on spectrum for 5G to date followed by the released of the Luxembourg 5G Strategy on September 13th, 2018.

In May 2019, a public consultation was launched on the use of 700 MHz and 3.4-3.6 GHz spectrum for 5G.

Assignment of the 700 MHz and 3.4-3.7 GHz bands is scheduled for the second half of 2019. The 26 GHz frequencies are expected to become available in the second half of 2020. Spectrum from 3.7-3.8 GHz will be considered separately. It is intended to be used by local applications.

In February 2017, the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) revised its test and trial-licensing regime to further support the carriage of technology trials such as 5G and IoT. In November 2017, the MCA released an update of its strategy for 2018-2020. Main tasks include:

  • Awarding the 800 MHz band and continuing process to clear the 700 MHz band.
  • Publishing and commencing implementation of the National Spectrum Management Strategy.
  • Continuing scoping work on spectrum earmarked for 5G. Managing information as the means to promote competition.
  • Continue making the case for assumption of ex-post competition regulation powers.
  • Maintaining the compliance framework set at safeguarding a competitive environment

In June 2018, the MCA released the National Roadmap for the UHF band between 470-790 MHz. The 700 MHz band will be made available for commercial wireless mobile broadband services as from June 2021. The roadmap follows a public consultation held between April 23rd and May 22nd, 2018.

In December 2018, the MCA published a draft amending decision on “the assignment process for the 1.5 GHz band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in Malta” (MCA_D_17_2868).

Connectivity Action Plan, July 2018.

A multi-band spectrum (700/1400/2100 MHz) auction is scheduled for 2019/2020.

In December 2018, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published a 5G paper “5G and the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets”.

The spectrum in the 700 MHz band will be auctioned at the next mobile spectrum auction, which is expected to be held in late-2019 or early-2020.

The Dutch Government issued a consultation on its proposed policy for the 3.5 GHz band auction scheduled for 2021 or early 2022.

Final recommendations for 700/1400/2100 and 3500 MHz processes were issued in Q2 2019 including caps for frequency possession.

Main points

  • 5G Strategy for Poland, January 2018.
  • 5G spectrum consultation, July 2018.
  • A few trials to date.
  • 6-3.8 GHz auction expected in H1 2020
  • 700 MHz auction expected from 2020 to 2022

In January 2018, the Ministry of Digital Affairs opened a public consultation on the “5G strategy for Poland” until 11 February 2018. According to the document, Poland will launch 5G in 2020 with 700 MHz frequencies in at least one Polish city by year-end and transport paths will be covered by 2025. Frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz bands will be assigned in 2021. The 5G strategy for Poland steered by the Ministry of Digital Affairs will be funded by public and community funds until 2023. The Ministry of Digital Affairs will allocated PLN 10-15 million to digitalization until 2023. The Ministry aims at easing permission for installing parts of the networks (e.g. masts) and restrictions on electromagnetic emissions.

Between July and August 2018, The Polish Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) issued a consultation on frequencies for 5G covering 700 MHz, 3.4-3.6 GHz, 3.6-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz bands. It proposes the sale of spectrum in these bands. Parts of the bands are currently used for telecom and TV services. UKE considers reorganization and reallocation in all bands.

In December 2018, UKE asked if 700 MHz spectrum could be opened up in 2020 to 2022.

In April 2019, the UKE announced that 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum could be awarded by June or July 2020. The income of the Polish state budget from the auction is expected to amount to PLN 3.5-5 billion.

A public consultation on spectrum for 5G was released between March and April 2018. Frequencies studied included 450/700/900/1500/1800/2100/2600/3600 MHz and 26 GHz frequencies.

In July 2018, the Portuguese regulatory authority ANACOM approved the 700 MHz band plan for 5G services. The 700 MHz band will be freed up by June 2020. The release of the band will start in Q4 2019.

At the end of 2018, Portugal indicated that it was establishing a working group to work on the development of the Portuguese national 5G action plan. On the first half 2019, it worked on a public consultation on a proposed multiband spectrum auction (450/700/900/1500/1800 MHz, 2.1/2.6/3.6/26 GHz).

The National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) launched a public consultation on 5G spectrum between May and June 2018.

ANCOM launched a public consultation on the “National Strategy for the Implementation of 5G in Romania” between November 20th and December 21st, 2018.

In December 2018, the Romanian regulator, ANCOM, has issued a consultation about its action plan for 2019. ANCOM’s President, Sorin Grindeanu, said in a press release that its main project will be the auction of the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1500 MHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3.4 – 3.6 GHz bands for 5G services.

Spectrum in 700 MHz and 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies could be auctioned in 2019/2020 and 26 GHz spectrum in 2021.

In April 2017, the Slovakian regulator launched a public consultation on 26 GHz frequencies. As a result, 26 GHz frequencies are expected to be assigned after July 7, 2021.

At the end of 2018, the NRA indicated that 5G strategy is being prepared in Slovak Republic. At the same time, strategy on digital transformation of Slovakia is preparing where the part about infrastructure is also included.

In April 2019, the Slovakian regulator adopted a plan to use 700 MHz frequencies for 5G. It issued trial licences in this band. 700 MHz is expected to be used commercially after July 2020.

3.6 GHz band

(Source: ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=44456)

This frequency band has been assigned for fixed wireless broadband access so it is likely to be used for 4G and not for 5G.

RÚ completed the assignment of the 3.5 GHz frequency band (3.4-3.6 GHz) in 2016. Frequency licences were assigned through electronic auction to three operators for the whole country (O2 Slovakia, SWAN and Slovanet). These run until August 2025.

However, the assignment procedure for the 3.7 GHz frequency band (3.6-3.8 GHz) is still ongoing. RÚ has started the assignment process for the remaining frequencies in this band concerning two segments: the 3600-3640 MHz and the 3760-3800 MHz bands. Licences for these frequencies are granted locally at district level. The first tenders were published in August 2016 and November 2016; calls continue to be published and new licences to be issued for use of the 3.7 GHz (3.6-3.8 GHz) band throughout Slovakia. The assignment procedure is expected to be finished in 2017. The planned use of frequencies assigned in 3.4-3.8 GHz band is for fixed wireless broadband access.

In January 2017, the Slovenian Government and AKOS called for project applications for testing 5G. In the call, trial licenses in 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies were proposed. In October 2018, a controversy emerged regarding the allocation of 5G testing frequencies in the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum. The 700 MHz frequency band was granted until January 2019. The 3.4 to 3.8 GHz band was granted until May 2021.

In July 2017, a consortium on PPDR issues (5G PPDR) was created. The following organizations are participating in the initiative: Telekom Slovenije, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Iskratel, Ericsson, Ministry of Internal Affairs – Police, the Ministry of Defence, Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, The Information Society Directorate of the Ministry of Public Administration, and AKOS.

Slovenia launched a public consultation for the assignment of spectrum in the 700 MHz band and in the 26 GHz for 4G and 5G services in 2017. Two blocks (56 MHz and 112 MHz) in the 26 GHz frequencies were awarded in January 2018. However they cannot be used for 5G services.

In May 2019, AKOS issued a consultation on its spectrum management strategy for the next fewyears. It wants to make a decision by June 2020 with respect to awarding the 700 MHz, 1400 MHz,2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz, and 26 GHz bands. The document also discusses the potentially making spectrum available for local wireless broadband networks in a portion of the 3.4-3.8 GHz band, as well as critical M2M services in a 2 x 3 MHz block of spectrum within the 700 MHz band.

Main points

  • Early spectrum assignment process in the 3.4-3.6 GHz range took place in 2016. It is likely to be used for 4G.
  • The 3.6-3.8 GHz auction ended in July 2018 and will be used by 5G networks:
    • Vodafone has eighteen 5 MHz blocks (€198.1m)
    • Orange has twelve 5 MHz blocks (€132.1m)
    • Telefonica has ten 5 MHz blocks (€107.4m)
  • The 700 MHz auction will be held in the first months of 2020.
  • 5G National Plan 2018-2020 – 5G Observatory in Barcelona, July 2017 consultation, release in 2018
  • The 5G process in Spain started in July 2017 when the Government opened a public consultation about the 5G National Plan consisting of 25 questions.
  • The 5G National plan 2018-2020 aims at “promoting the development and deployment of 5G technology” via the auction of spectrum in the 1.5 GHz and the 3.6 GHz bands in early 2018, and at “developing their infrastructures and telecommunications networks with a 5G platform”.
  • 5G launch by Vodafone

The Spanish government has allocated 1 MEUR to create a national 5G observatory in Barcelona, part of a project designed to boost the candidature of Barcelona as the European capital of 5G technological innovation. The observatory is part of the “5GBarcelona” joint initiative of the regional government of Catalonia with Barcelona City Hall, the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, the i2CAT Foundation, the CTTC (Centre Technologic de Telecommunication’s de Catalunya), Atos and the UPC (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya).

5GBarcelona will develop a European 5G digital hub based on an open experimental infrastructure in the metropolitan area for validating 5G technologies and services. It will be an open innovation environment based on the collaboration between public and private institutions that will harmonize the ecosystem generated by the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and other technology fairs held in Barcelona. For this R&D&I programme, 500 kEUR were allocated during April-September 2017 to define the KPIs and challenges towards becoming an international digital hub.

The 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum auction raised 438 MEUR in the end of July 2018.

The 700 MHz auction initially scheduled for spring 2019 was postponed late November 2018 to the first months of 2020.

5G timeline in Spain
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of 27 July 2018

Main points

  • Broadband strategy paper.
  • Nordic cooperation on 5G.
  • Upcoming 5G spectrum auctions: preliminary study on 3.4-3.8 GHz and 24.25-27.5 GHz, May 2018.
  • The 5G strategy in Sweden is based on the paper released in March 2017 entitled “A Completely Connected Sweden by 2025 – a Broadband Strategy”.
  • Trial licenses have been granted on a first-come first served basis, valid from 2017 until 31st December 2019. 200 MHz of spectrum was made available in the 3.4-3.6 GHz band and 1000 Hz in the 24.5-275 GHz band.
  • The Nordic countries signed a letter of intent in May 2018 to deepen cooperation on 5G.
  • The 700 MHz auction took place in December 2018.
  • 3 and 3.5 GHz auction scheduled for March 2020

In February 2019, a public consultation on upcoming award of the 2.3 and 3.5 GHz bands in Sweden was published.  PTS intends to award national licenses for 80 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band and 320 MHz at 3400 – 3720 MHz. Each 10 MHz block in the 2.3 GHz band would have a minimum price of SEK 20 million, and each 20 MHz block at 3.5 GHz would be sold for at least SEK 100 million. It also proposes to make the 3720 – 3800 MHz band available on a local basis. The auction is scheduled for March 2020.

Main points

  • 5G strategy for the UK, 2016.
  • Strategy paper “Next Generation Mobile Technologies: A 5G Strategy for the UK”, March 2017.
  • Group of 5G research centers.
  • 4-3.6 GHz spectrum auctioned in April 2018
  • “5G Testbeds and Trials”, April 2018-March 2019.
  • Statement on the review of spectrum used by fixed wireless services published in July 2018.
  • Launch of EE 5G service on May 30, 2019
  • Launch of Vodafone 5G service expected on July 3rd, 2019
  • Plans to auction parts of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum late in 2019 or early 2020

5G was initiated in 2016 when the Government announced its National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) worth in total of 23 BGBP, of which 740 MGBP funded by the government aiming at 5G trials and full fiber deployment across the UK by 2020-2021. Projects must complete all grant-funded activities by 31 March 2019.

In July 2018, Ofcom decided to change the authorization approach for fixed wireless systems in the 64-66 GHz band to license exempt and to implement common technical conditions across the 57-71 GHz band for short range wideband data transmission systems and fixed wireless systems as follows:

  • For short range wideband data transmission
    1. Extension of the license exemption and technical conditions (from 57-666 GHz) up to 71 GHz
    2. Introduce new technical conditions to allow licence exempt use of lower power equipment operation in a fixed outdoor installation in the extended 57 – 71 GHz band.
  • For fixed wireless systems
    1. Extend the current license exemption (from 57.1-63.9 GHz) up to 70.875 GHz.
    2. Extend the current technical conditions (from 57.1-63.9 GHz) up to 70.875 GHz

 

In November 2018, the UK Government published the “National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline” report for 2018. It gives an overview of investment (both public and private) that is underway or expected to be put toward 5G and full fibre (FTTP) between 2018/19 and 2020/21 (financial years). 6.85 billion GBP should be devoted to full fibre and 5G upgrades by 2021.

700 MHz

In December 2018, OfCom announced plans to auction 700 MHz (80 MHz) and 3.6-3.8 GHz (120 MHz) spectrum in late 2019 or early 2020. The related public consultation ended in March 2019.

3.4-3.8 GHz band

3400-3600 MHz auctioned in April 2018.

The Government plans to auction 3600-3800 MHz frequencies in 2020. A consultation on defragmenting the 3.4-3.8 GHz band was issued in June 2019. The idea is to reorganise the band so operators can have contiguous blocks of spectrum. A negotiation phase could begin before the 3600-3800 MHz auction where players could swap blocks.

5G timeline in the UK
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of 17 July 2018

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