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 August 2020
  • 5G Strategy for Austria, April
  • All MNOs started 5G
  • 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 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


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.

In 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.

In August 2019, the Austrian Government announced the new national broadband strategy ‘Breitbandstrategie 2030’. The strategy aims to provide nationwide access to gigabit-capable broadband services by the end of 2030.


The goals are:

  • Nationwide access to 100 Mbps speeds by end 2020
  • Launch 5G in all federal state capitals by end 2020
  • Becoming a ‘5G pilot country’ by early 2021
  • 5G coverage along all main traffic routes by end-2023
  • Nationwide coverage of 5G by the end of


In September 2019, the RTR chief said 700/1500 (eight blocks of 10 MHz) /2100 MHz (12 blocks of 2×5 MHz) frequencies to be auctioned in March 2020 will be granted under coverage conditions. A public consultation on conditions and targets was open till October 21, 2019. The government aims for main traffic routes to have 5G services available by the end of 2023, and to have “virtually nationwide” 5G coverage by the end of 2025. 700 MHz licences will include coverage of 900 underserved communities with speeds of 30 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, 90% of federal and state roads – to enjoy at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. In December 2019, the RTR published terms and conditions for the 2nd 5G spectrum auction scheduled for April 2020: it decided to lower the minimum bid by 55 million EUR to 239.3 million EUR, it also increased the duration of the licences from 20 to around 25 years. The auction was postponed due to Covid-19 in the second half of August 2020 instead of April 2020.

In May 2020, Vienna announced it plans to increase 5G coverage by subsidizing new sites deployment locally between July 2020 and June 2022. The city expects to spend 20 MEUR.

  • Draft strategic plan 2020-2022 late in 2019 opened to public consultation including on information about the planned multi-band spectrum auction.

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, or Supplementary Downlink) frequencies are expected to be auctioned in the autumn of 2019. The 26 GHz band 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.

The BIPT provided consultations on the introduction of 5G in Belgium in September 2018, a communication regarding the introduction of 5G in Belgium (September 2018) and the national strategy for 700 MHz band in October 2018. The BIPT gave details on the 700 MHz auction in November 2018.  Bids will start at a reserve price of 20 million EUR per 5 MHz block for 20-year licenses.

In May 2019, the BIPT issued a consultation on its draft decision to deny CityMesh’s request to add some municipalities to its 3.5 GHz band licence. It also opened a public consultation to assess interest in using the 26GHz band for 5G services. It believes it possible to assign six blocks of 200MHz without migrating the band’s existing users, while a further ten blocks would be available once the spectrum is vacated.

BIPT published its draft strategic plan 2020-2022 for public consultation until December 8, 2019. The document mentions plans to award the 700 MHz, 1500 MHz, and 3.5 GHz bands, and to renew rights for the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2.1 GHz bands, which expire in March 2021. The auction has been delayed due to a disagreement over how the amount raised by the sale should be distributed.

Due to the delay in assigning 5G spectrum, BIPT decided to award temporary licensees. In March 2020, Telenet, Orange and Proximus confirmed they applied before the 28 February 2020 deadline. In April 2020, the BIPT granted temporary 5G licences to Proximus, Cegeka, Entropia, Telenet and Orange Belgium. Licensing was followed by the launch of 5G services by Proximus as from April 1st. Orange Belgium started testing 5G.

5G border corridor Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia.

The Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) of Bulgaria 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 (1452-1492 MHz), three paired blocks of 5 MHz in the 2 GHz band (1920-1935 MHz/2110-2125 MHz), 14 paired 5 MHz blocks of frequency division duplex (FDD) spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band (2500-2570 MHz/2620-2690 MHz), ten blocks of 5 MHz TDD spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band (2570-2620 MHz), 34 blocks of 5 MHz in the 3.6 GHz band (3430-3600 MHz) and further 22 blocks of 5 MHz TDD in the 3.6 GHz band (3645-3700 MHz and 3745-3800 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, Bulgaria’s telecommunications authority (CRC) opened a public consultation procedure on a draft decision to adopt an updated regulatory policy for management of radio spectrum. It includes a proposal to redistribute spectrum in the 3400-3800 MHz band for 5G use and define the conditions for use of at least 1GHz of spectrum in 24.25-27.5 GHz band.

Another public consultation was launched on elements of a new radio spectrum policy including redistribution at 1800 MHz, allocation of 2000 MHz frequencies, use of 3400-3800 MHz spectrum, conditions for releasing 1 GHz of 24.25-27.5 GHz frequencies for 5G, allocation of 700 MHz to mobile services.

In October 2019, CRC indicated it had taken actions for the harmonisation of the 5G pioneer bands by amending the regulatory framework.

In November 2019, CRC announced it planned to assign frequencies for 5G by mid-2020.

The Strategy for Broadband Development in 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 ca. 770 MEUR.

A round table on “introduction of the 5G network in Croatia” was held in May 2018. On January 25, 2019, HAKOM issued a public call for spectrum allocation in 2.5-2.69 GHz for the period of May 2019 until October 2024. The frequencies could be used for 5G.

70 MHz of the 3400-3600 MHz band is not available in north Croatia, in two counties. After November 4, 2023 the entire 3400-3600 MHz band will be available countrywide. The entire 3600-3800 MHz band will be available countrywide after July 31, 2020 while one continuous block of 100 MHz of this band has already been available from September 1, 2019.

In March 2019, Croatia adopted a new plan with 5G as a priority. At the same time, Tele2, A1 and Hrvatski Telekom were awarded spectrum in band 7 (2500-2690 MHz).

On October 18, 2019 HAKOM issued a public consultation on future assignment of 700 MHz, 1500 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz bands. Public consultation was open until January 20, 2020 to enable all interested stakeholders to express their views and interests. As a result of the gathered information, HAKOM published a document stating the intention to conduct a public auction for the 700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz frequency bands. The auction was planned for H2 2020, but these plans are currently under revision due to COVID-19 epidemic.

700 MHz band in Croatia is still used for digital terrestrial television in DVB-T/MPEG-2 system. Termination of DVB-T broadcasting in this band to enable its use for wireless broadband was planned for mid-2020, together with transition to DVB-T2/HEVC system on frequencies below 694 MHz. In March 2020 HAKOM postponed transition to DVB-T2/HEVC system and releasing of the 700 MHz band for at least 6 months due to consequences of force majeure caused by COVID-19 pandemic and earthquake in densely populated area of capital Zagreb, on March 22, 2020. Release of the 700 MHz band is also largely conditioned by cross-border coordination (interference situation in 470-694 MHz) and demanding transition procedure as DTT is a dominant TV platform with 48% household’s share.

In January 2020, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has adopted a resolution on Osijek as the Croatian 5G City and Slavonia as the first Croatian region to operate 5G networks commercially. Commercial work on 5G technology in Osijek is expected by the end of 2020. 5G is a prerequisite for utilization of the potential of digital transformation as a key factor for economic growth. For the successful introduction of technology, it is necessary to encourage active co-operation between the relevant state bodies.

In June 2020, HAKOM postponed the multi-band auction (700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz) until the first half 2021 blaming the Covid-19 outbreak.

  • Updated Cyprus Broadband Plan 2016-2020 [1 ]
  • Spectrum auction planned for May 2020

On August 30, 2019, the Cyprus government issued a consultation on its plans to auction the 700 MHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz, and 26 GHz bands. The consultation will be opened to public comment until September 27, 2019. The auction was initially scheduled for November 2019 and rescheduled for March 2020. It is now expected by year-end 2020. Licensees will have to provide 40% 5G geographical coverage within 2 years and 85% within 5 years.

In the first months of 2020, concerns about potential adverse health effects of 5G were growing in the country and no licences had been assigned.

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.

Main points

  • Implementation and Development of 5G Networks in the Czech Republic – Towards the Digital Economy” approved by the Czech government on January 13, 2020
  • National Plan for the Development of Next Generation Networks 2016-2020.
  • 7 GHz spectrum auctioned off. Spectrum auctions in the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz frequencies postponed later in 2020 (initially scheduled for January 2020). The 5G auction was further delayed and all players filed complaints against the regulator’s auction in September 2020.
  • The Government of the Czech Republic adopted the National Plan for the Development of Next Generation Networks[1] in October 2016
  • The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) auctioned off 3.7 GHz spectrum in 2017 to four bidders, including two new players:
    • Telecom 5G: two 40 MHz blocks 3720-3760 MHz and 3760-3800 MHz
    • O2 Czech Republic: one block 3680-3720 MHz
    • PODA: 3640-3680 MHz
    • Vodafone Czech Republic: one block 3600-3640 MHz
    • Each 40 MHz block was sold for CZK 203 million (9.2 million USD), for a total of CZK 1.015 billion.

This spectrum seems to be dedicated to “Geographically localised BWA with fixed, mobile or nomadic terminals” and not 5G[2].

  • Consultation for the 3.4-3.6 GHz band took place from June 2018 until January 2019.
  • At the beginning of 2019, CTU gave more details on the 5G auction that includes the 700 MHz and the 3.4-3.6 GHz bands for consultation until 25 January 2019. In June 2019, the CTU published the draft plan[3] of the 700 MHz (2×30 MHz, 703–733/758–788 MHz) and 3.5 GHz bands auction (190 MHz, 3410-3600 MHz). The auction was rescheduled to April 2020, in October 2019 and was further postponed to year-end 2020 early 2020. The minimum price for individual auction blocks will be 6.3 billion CZK (240 million EUR). Terms and condition of the auction:
  • Successful bidders will have to cover municipalities currently identified as white spaces.
  • They must cover 95% of the population of all these communities within three years of the allocation.
  • By January 2025 100% of the backbone network of railway and road corridors, and 95% of municipalities above 50,000 must be covered.
  • Within ten years the winning operators must cover 99% of the population and 90% of the territory of each district of the Czech Republic.
  • Consultation launched in March 2020 on a new framework for the 700 MHz and 3.4-3.6 GHz auction. The framework will include spectrum set aside for verticals and spectrum caps.
  • In March 2020, the auction was delayed later in 2020 by CTU. The regulator modified rules for the 5G auction.
  • 700 MHz: two blocks of paired 10 MHz of spectrum and two blocks of paired 5 MHz spectrum are available of which 2×10 MHz are reserved for new players. The minimum prices for 700 MHz blocks are set at 700 million CZK (26.8 million EUR), 1.12 billion CZK (42.8 million EUR), and 1.4 billion CZK (53.5 million EUR).
  • In the 3.4-3.6 GHz, 10 blocks of 20 MHz of spectrum are available with spectrum caps for incumbents of 60 MHz and 100 MHz for new players. It also decided to provide national roaming conditions to new players in the 700 MHz and the 3.5GHz frequencies; In addition, 40 MHz of spectrum will be reserved for industry verticals (3400-3440 MHz).
  • new players can buy up to 100 MHz. O2 Czech Republic launched 5G in July 2020
  • In August 2020, CTU launched a public consultation on draft spectrum utilisation plan for the 26 GHz band.
  • In September 2020, all players had filed complaints against the regulator’s 5G planned auction terms.




The national 5G plan was published in February 2019. In March 2019, Denmark completed its auction of the 700, 900 and 2,300 MHz bands, TDC, Hi3G and TT-Netvaerket, raising total proceeds of DKK 2.21 billion (EUR 296 million). The licenses are valid from April 2020.

  • Hi3G Denmark ApS won 2 x 10 MHz in the 700 MHz band and 2 x 10 MHz in the 900 MHz band at a total cost of almost 65 million EUR
  • DC A/S won 2×15 MHz in the 700 MHz band, 2×10 MHz in the 900 MHz-band, 60 MHz in the 2300 MHz band and 20 MHz for SDL in the 700 MHz-band at a total cost of almost 217 million EUR
  • TT-Netvaerket P/S won 2×5 MHz in the 700 MHz band and 2×10 MHz in the 900 MHz band at a total cost of 14 million EUR

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 December 2019, the Danish Energy Agency has issued a consultation on spectrum for private 5G networks, particularly in the 3.5 GHz band. Responses to the consultation are asked by January 6, 2020.

Main points

  • 4 licences in 3.6 GHz frequencies to be assigned in 2020
  • 700 MHz and 26 GHz tenders scheduled later in 2021

Estonia conducted a consultation on 5G in April 2018. The NRA, TJA, indicated in May 2018 that an auction would be organised for the 3.6 GHz band.

In January 2019, the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology signed a draft regulation setting the basis, so that electronic communications operators can start developing 5G networks in the 3.6 GHz band.

In March 2019, a 5G spectrum roadmap was issued with plans to auction 700 MHz spectrum in the first semester 2020. The potential of spectrum in the 40-44 GHz and 66-71 GHz ranges was mentioned.

The auction for 390 MHz of spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band was suspended in April 2019 following a complaint about the rules of the tender. Levikom Eesti, a provider of IoT and fixed-wireless internet services, said that auctioning only three licences in the 3.6 GHz band would favour the country’s trio of incumbent cellcos, while also hampering competition. In the first months 2020, the IT ministry decided to offer a 4th 5G licence. Applications are due by June 18th, 2020.

In October 2019 the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications launched a consultation about a public tender of spectrum at 700 MHz and 26 GHz (24.25–27.5 GHz) for mobile broadband services. The consultation ran until mid-December 2019.

In June 2020, a fourth licence was added in the forthcoming 5G auction.

Main points

  • The 700 MHz band frequencies were assigned in November
  • In May 2018, the government launched a consultation to free spectrum in the 3.6 GHz
  • The 3.6 GHz band spectrum auctions took place in September
  • Elisa, first 5G network in Europe launched in June
  • Early award of trial licences to a large number of companies (October 2015-October2017).
  • Auction for the 26 GHz (25.1- 27.5 GHz) spectrum ended on June 8, 2020. The incumbent MNOs each got a 5G licence at 7 MEUR giving them the right to use 800 MHz ofspectrum.

5G Test Network Finland (5GTNF) 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 the 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz bands.

In March 2019, the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications published a document called “Turning Finland into the world leader in communications networks – Digital infrastructure strategy 2025”. It details the strategy for promoting the implementation of 5G and supporting optical fibre construction in Finland.

In January 2020, Finland launched a consultation on the 26 GHz auction scheduled in the summer 2020. It will include spectrum from 25.1 to 27.5 GHz excluding the lowest 850 MHz part of the 26 GHz band that will be reserved for local and/or regional vertical players and research & development or educational usage. The auction took place on June 8th, 2020, and the current MNOs – Elisa, Telia and DNA – were each assigned 800 MHz of spectrum at the starting price of 7 million EUR. Licences are national for mainland Finland. Elisa won the 25.1-25.9 GHz frequencies, Telia the 25.9-26.7 GHz and DNA got the 26.7-27.5 GHz frequencies. The frequency band can be used for 5G networks as of 1 July 2020 and the licence is valid in mainland Finland until 31 December 2033. The lowest 850 MHz part of the pioneer band (24.25-25.1 GHz) will be reserved for local and/or regional vertical players and research & development or educational usage.

Main points

  • 700 MHz frequencies assigned in December 2015.
  • Consultation on 5G, 2016.
  • Trials licences and trial cities, 2017-2020
  • 5G pilot window, Jan. 2018.
  • Provision of mid-band spectrum for trials in selected cities.
  • 5G roadmap, July 2018.
  • 5 GHz auction completed on October 1st, 2020. The positioning auction is expected in October 2020.


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”.
  • 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 authorisations in many cities in 3.5 and 26 GHz frequencies. Ongoing and completed trials (when mentioned) include: Marseille (Orange), Lille/Douai (Orange), Sophia-Antipolis, Chatillon (Orange ended), Linas, Pau, Paris (Ericsson ended, SFR ended, Bouygues Telecom ended, SFR, Orange), Sophia-Antipolis (Orange-EDF-Eurecom ended), Vélizy (Bouygues Telecom ended, SFR), Linas-Monthléry (Bouygues Telecom, Orange), Bordeaux Mérignac (Bouygues Telecom ended, Bouygues Telecom), Nantes ( SFR ended), Lyon (SFR ended, Bouygues Telecom), Pau (Orange ended), Toulouse (SFF-Airbus ended), Grenoble (CEA-Leti), Saint Denis (Orange), Cesson-Sévigné (b<>com ended), Lannion (b<>comn ended), Nozay (Nokia ended), Cesson-Sévigné, Saint Maurice de Rémens (Bouygues Telecom), Toulouse-Francazal (SFR), Ouistreham (CEA Leti).


  • Mid-July 2018, ARCEP disclosed the French 5G roadmap and announced the launch of four priority areas:
    • Free up and assign 5G spectrum; ARCEP is currently working hard on future connectivity needs and on freeing-up and awarding 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum
    • Facilitate development of new uses and applications
    • Support deployment of new infrastructures
    • Ensure transparency and discussion on 5G deployments and on public exposure
  • A public consultation on the 1.5 GHz band was opened between July 30th and September 30th, 2018.
  • A public consultation on award procedures, procedures sequencing and on requirements was opened between October 26th and December 19th, 2018 to collect ideas and needs from operators, local authorities, vertical market players, economic stakeholders and all interested parties. ARCEP will be holding a second consultation on the call or calls to tender, which it will then propose to the Government. The call for tenders was expected by year end 2019.
  • In February 2019, the French government and the national regulatory authority, ARCEP, issued a call for 5G trials in the 26 GHz frequency band in France.
  • ARCEP issued a consultation on planned continued use of the 3.4-3.8 GHz band for wireless local loop services in May 2019.
  • In July 2019, ARCEP opened a public consultation on the terms and conditions for the allocation of 5G spectrum in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band[1]. The regulator is planning to release 31 TDD blocks (10MHz each) in the 3490MHz-3800MHz band. The procedure will include a first stage, in which operators can obtain frequency blocks for optional commitments, before a second stage (auction), which will allow candidates to obtain additional frequencies. Each bidder will be allowed to purchase a maximum of 100MHz. Operators could be obliged to offer 5G in at least two cities before the end of 2020. The obligations to support the deployment of 5G equipment are the following: 3,000 sites by 2022, 8,000 (2024) and 12,000 (2025).
  • In September 2019, the head of French regulator ARCEP suggested that the country may opt for a sharing regime in the 26 GHz band, in which verticals will be able to gain access to spectrum.
  • Late in November 2019, reserve prices were disclosed for the mid-band frequency assignment procedure. Up to four 50 MHz lots will be assigned on demand at 350 MEUR each and up to eleven 10 MHz lots will be auctioned with a 70 MEUR reserve price.
  • In December 2019, ARCEP issued a consultation about plans to award the 700 MHz in Reunion and Mayotte, and the 3.4-3.8 GHz band in Mayotte, during 2020.
  • The four bidders for 5G spectrum in mainland France have been revealed late in February 2020: Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and Altice requested the allocation of one of the four 50MHz blocks awarded in exchange for optional commitments.
  • In April 2020, the 3.5 GHz auction was postponed from April 2020 due to covid-19. In June 2020, Arcep announced the auction will take place at the end of September (Sept. 20 to 30). The auction for eleven 10 MHz blocks started on September 29, 2020. The first round (bidding) was completed on October 1st, 2020. The four MNOs paid a total of 2.786 billion EUR for 310 MHz of spectrum, in addition to the previous 50 MHz block awarded earlier in 2020 to each player at 350 million EUR per block. Orange won 90 MHz of spectrum, SFR obtained 80 MHz and both Bouygues and Free got 70 MHz of spectrum. A spectrum cap had been set at 100 MHz of spectrum per MNO. The second round will see players bid for “positioning” that spectrum in the band. Spectrum at the center of the band is the most coveted as it ensures less interference with other services.


5G timeline in France
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, as of June 2020

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 actions where fiber broadband and 5G are key elements.

In February 2019, the French government and the national regulatory authority, Arcep, issued a call for 5G trials in the 26 GHz frequency band in France.  In October 2019, ARCEP announced that eleven players had been selected to carry out trials in the 26 GHz band.

Main points

  • The 700 MHz frequencies assigned in June 2015.
  • “5G for Germany”, autumn 2016.
  • 5G spectrum roadmap, 2018.
  • Final conditions for 5G Auction, November 2018.
  • 4-3.7 GHz (300 MHz) and 2 GHz (2×60 MHz) 5G auction ended in June 2019 raising 6.55 billion EUR (of which 4.18 billion EUR for 36 GHz spectrum). Licences include coverage obligations.
  • 100 MHz reserved for local and regional purposes in 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum. Applications opened on November 21st, 2019.
  • 26 GHz spectrum expected to be potentially awarded upon application.
  • Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom launched 5G in July 2019. Telefonica is expected to follow in October 2020.


5G initiatives

The Bundesnetzagentur published its “Frequency Compass” 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 1st January 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 1st January 2022 (earlier stage as from 2019). Other public initiatives award conditions and auctions rules for 5G were released on November 26th, 2018.

The 5G spectrum auctions begun spring 2019. The qualification procedure was 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). BNetzA should now prepare the application process for the verticals (mainly industrial sites) for the upper 100 MHz of 3.6 GHz (3.7-3.8 GHz) within a few weeks.

5G timeline in Germany
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, 5G markets in Europe, March 2020

The final draft conditions require minimum data rates of 100 Mbps available by the end of 2022 in 98% of households in each state, all federal highways, and all main roads and along the major railway routes. The regulator said that the minimum coverage rules will not be applicable to any new entrant. Bundesnetzagentur’s document also includes expectation that operators would work together on providing coverage in areas not economically viable for each to install their own equipment.

Coverage requirements:

  • At least 100 Mbit/s for at least 98% of households in each federal state by the end of 2022,
  • At least 100 Mbit/s and a maximum latency of 10 ms for all German motorways by the end of 2022
  • At least 100 Mbit/s and a maximum latency of 10 ms for all federal roads with connectivity function levels 0 or 1 by the end of 2022,
  • Of at least 100 Mbit/s and a maximum latency of 10 ms for all other federal roads by the end of 2024,
  • At least 50 Mbit/s for all state roads by the end of 2024
  • At least 50 Mbit/s for seaports and the inland waterways core network by the end of 2024
  • At least 100 Mbit/s for rail routes with more than 2,000 passengers daily by the end of 2022, at least 50 Mbit/s for all other rail routes by the end of 2024,
  • And, by the end of 2022:
  • Operation of 1,000 “5G base stations”, and
  • Operation of 500 base stations with a transmission rate of at least 100 Mbit/s in not-spots.

The 3.6 GHz band auctions started in March 2019. On June 5, 2019, the regulator ramped up minimum bids in an attempt to wrap up the 5G spectrum auction. The process ended on June 12, 2019 raising 6.55 billion EUR after 497 rounds. Deutsche Telekom bid 2.17 billion EUR for 130 MHz of the 420 MHz of spectrum allocated in the 2 and 3.6 GHz frequencies. Vodafone got 130 MHz for 1.88 billion EUR and Telefonica got 90 MHz for 1.42 billion EUR. Drillisch paid 1.07 billion EUR for 70 MHz. Frequencies will be available as from 2021 or 2026.

The Minister for transport and digital infrastructure in Germany updated the national mobile strategy in September 2019. A 5-point plan was announced. The central topic raised deals with coverage issues (extending coverage) and especially with ways and means to reduce white spots in 4G and consequently in 5G.

National mobile operators agreed to i)provide reliable voice and data services in 99% of households nationwide by the end of 2020, and 99% of households in each state by 2021, especially in rural areas, ii)increase intra-cooperation and build at least 1,400 masts accessible to any operator, iii) meet a minimum of 100 Mbps speeds across major transport routes, iv)and install base stations in “white spots” unserved rural areas. Dedicated funds for Municipalities will be opened to help them actively contribute to improve mobile coverage.

Main points

  • Trial licences in 3.4-3.8 GHz frequencies issued in Q1 2019 with award of licences expected in Q4 2019.
  • 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 at the end of 2020.
  • 700 MHz auction is scheduled in July 2020. Spectrum will be available for both mobile and fixed services in 2021.
  • Consultation on 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 3.5 GHz, and 26 GHz in February 2020. Complementary consultation in March-April 2020 on the 3.4-3.8 GHz band.
  • Auction of 2×30MHz in the 700MHz band, 65MHz in the 1500MHz range, 2×15MHz in the 2100MHz band (plus 2×45MHz in the same band which is already allocated but licences expire in 2021), 280MHz at 3.6GHz, and up to 2,500MHz in the 24GHz-28GHz range expected by year-end 2020
  • Vodafone expected to launch 5G in the first quarter 2021, following the spectrum auction


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 October 2018, EETT launched a consultation on the granting of rights to use spectrum between 3400–3800 MHz and 24.25–27.5 GHz bands for 5G testing.

In January 2019, the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) issued the Technical Announcement entitled “Review of Frequency Bands for the Deployment of 5G Networks” aiming to inform all interested parties (incumbent and new providers of electronic communication networks, equipment manufacturers, radio-spectrum users in general, verticals) with respect to the radio frequency bands that are currently under review by EETT and are expected to be used for the deployment of fifth generation (5G) wireless broadband networks in the near future, taking also into consideration the relevant developments at a European level.

Late in January 2019, EETT issued a public consultation on the potential issuance of mobile licences for the 1500 MHz band.

Multi-band auction incl. 700 MHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz spectrum

In March 2018, the EETT announced the results of its public consultation on the award of spectrum in the 3400-3800MHz band for 4G/5G use.

In October 2019, the auction for 3.5 GHz spectrum was postponed to the end of 2020. In January 2020, EETT issued another consultation on the multi-band spectrum auction (2×30 MHz in the 700 MHz band, 2×15 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band, 280 MHz at 3.7 GHz and up to 2500 MHz in 26 GHz spectrum depending on spectrum demand). The consultation which closed on April 30, 2020 was about alternative ways of assigning the band.  The government still expects to proceed with the multi-band auction by year-end 2020. Late in September 2020, EETT the Greek regulator kicked off the 5G auction process and invited applications for spectrum until 23 October 2020.

It published tender documents for all pioneer bands in September 2020. Licences in all pioneer bands will be valid for 15+5 years from December 20, 2020 til December 19, 2035 (except specific slots at 3.4-3.8 GHz which will be valid from May 1st, 2029). Licences in 700 MHz and 3.4-3.8 GHz include coverage obligations.

  • The 3.4-3.8 GHz licence holder has to cover:
  • 20% of the population and deploy its network in at least two districts within 3 years,
  • Install at least 300 5G sites within 5 years
  • Provide at least 100 Mbps speeds with a maximum 10 ms latency
    • Within 3 years in most major continental motorways and on the major road north of Crete
    • Within 6 years in all Greek motorways
  • Licensees at 700 MHz have to cover
    • Within 3 years: at least 99% of population at country level and 95% of population in each district, at least 95% of territory and maritime zones, 95% of motorways, 95% of railway networks (Athens-Patras and Athens-Thessaloniki (excluding tunnels)
    • At least provide 100 Mbps DL with a maximum latency of 10 ms and within 3 years to at least 60% of the population, 60% of motorways and rail networks (Athens-Patras and Athens-Thessaloniki (excluding tunnels) and 95% of major motorways (Athens-Thessaloniki-Evzoni, Peloponnese, Olympia-Odos, Ionian main road, Egnatia-Odos, Central Greece main road, Attiki-Odos, Northern Cretan main road
    • At least provide 100 Mbps DL with a maximum latency of 10 ms and within 6 years to at least 90% of the population, 90% of motorways and rail networks
    • At least provide 100 Mbps to 90% of the population living in underserved areas within 5 years

If the licensee is a new player, coverage obligations are less strict: it has to cover at least 80% of the population within 5 years.

“Digital Success Programme 2.0”. Strategic study.

European 5G hub for 5G.

  • 700 MHz/2100 MHz/2600 MHz/3600 MHz auction ended end March 2020.

3.6 GHz auction scheduled for September 2019

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.

The NMHH issued a public consultation in June 2019 (comments expected by July 8, 2019) on its plans to auction 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz and 3.6 GHz. The auction was expected late in 2019 but as the consultation showed limited market demand, it should be held in 2020. Four MNOs have applied for the auction on 8 August 2019 and after the formal review the Authority entered three operators only (Magyar Telecom, Telenor and Vodafone). Digi Communications appealed the decision of the NMHH. The decision was upheld late in November 2019.

The multi-band auction was held at the end of March 2020 despite covid-19. 50 MHz was sold in the 700 MHz band (expected to be freed up on 6 September 2020), 30 MHz in the 2100 MHz band and 310 MHz in the 3600 MHz frequencies. No bids were submitted for the 2600 MHz spectrum. Magyar Telecom, Vodafone Hungary and Telenor Hungary won 15-year licences (until 2035, licences can be extended for 5 additional years once with the same pricing conditions) in the 700 MHz, 2100 MHz and 3600 MHz bands and acquired usage rights for 128.49 billion HUF (368 million EUR). DIGI did not take part in the auction. Its licence bidding application was rejected earlier in September 2019 by the Hungarian regulator NMHH. The player continues to protest against its exclusion from the 5G auction.

26 GHz band

  • Intensive fixed service use currently in 24.5-26.5 GHz sub-band.
  • Expiry date of most of the licenses is 2027.
  • Negotiation with present frequency users is ongoing.
  • 26.5-27.5 GHz sub-band suitable for early introduction of 5G
  • Strategy for implementing new technical criteria for the introduction of 5G is under elaboration and the rules for the transition period are to be developed.
  • The Authority also considers 26 GHz spectrum for 5G. However, due to lack of demand on that specific band (Public consultation held on that topic during Summer 2019), plans are on hold

Main points

  • National Roadmap on the use of 700 MHz frequencies published on March 2019, revised on May 2020
  • 6 GHz licences auctioned by ComReg in May-June 2017
  • On-going preparation of the multi-band auction for 700 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum. Final decision expected in Q4 2020.
  • Temporary licenses issued to players from April to July 2020 in 700 and 2100 MHz spectrum
  • 5G launch by Vodafone in August 2019 and by Eir in October 2019
  • Temporary 5G licences awarded to Eir and 3 due to Covid-19 (700 MHz and 2.1 GHz), effective between 9 April and 8 July. Licences can be extended an additional three-month period.


3.4-3.8 GHz band

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

“The Auction resulted in the successful assignment of all 360 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 licenced 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.

700 MHz, 2.1/2.3/2.6 GHz bands

From June 2019 to July 30, 2019, ComReg issued a consultation the 700 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, and 2.6 GHz bands.

It proposes to attach “precautionary” coverage obligations to the 700 MHz band. ComReg proposes to use a combinatorial clock auction.

Due to covid-19, ComReg issued on-demand temporary licenses to MNOs in April 2020. Meteor Mobile, Three Ireland and Vodafone Ireland received temporary licenses valid from April to July 2020 in 700 and 2100 MHz spectrum.

On 13 May 2020, ComReg published a Draft Information Memorandum and Draft Regulations on the multi-band auction. Comments due by 24 June 2020 will be published by the end of June 2020. Final decision is expected in Q4 2020.

The 700 MHz band should be auctioned in 2020.

26 GHz bands (24.745 – 25.277 GHz paired with 25.753 GHz – 26.285 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 GHz 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 of 3.75 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 October 2018, 26 GHz spectrum auctions, October 2018, first in Europe. Licences valid till year-end 2037.
• Launch of Vodafone and TIM 5G services in June 2019, Vodafone in August 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, 5G markets in Europe, March 2020

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 mid-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.
  • TIM Italy and Vodafone have agreed on a passive network sharing deal for 5G including all 22,000 antenna sites controlled by the operators.
  • In February 2020, Agcom opened a procedure to evaluate coverage obligations for the 5G network sharing venture involving Wind Tre and Fastweb in the 3.7GHz concession. Wind Tre must offer coverage of at least 5% of the population of each Italian region within 48 months from the award of the license. The regulator wants to know whether these coverage obligations should be modified based on the infrastructure sharing deal signed by the two operators in June 2019.

Main points

  • On-going preparation of 700 MHz spectrum assignment for 5G
  • On-going preparation of 1500 MHz spectrum assignment for 5G
  • 100 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G auctioned in November 2017. Remaining 50 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G auctioned in September 2018

700 MHz

The Latvian regulator issued a consultation on 700 MHz spectrum assignment for 5G in March 2020. Three lots of 2×10 MHz +1×15 MHz of spectrum are expected to be assigned. The reserve price is set at 1 MEUR for each lot. Licences would be valid for 20 years from the beginning of 2022. The consultation was opened till May 25, 2020.

1500 MHz

At the beginning of 2019, SRPK cancelled Lattetelecom’s rights of fixed use of 1427-1452 and 1492-1517 MHz frequencies as from 2021. SRPK intends to provide mobile 5G services in 1427-1517 MHz frequencies.

In August 2019, Latvia’s regulator issued a consultation on its plans to auction the 1432 – 1492 MHz band before January 2021. The consultation was closed on September 4.

3.4-3.8 GHz

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 a piece. 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.

Main points

  • Draft plan for 5G approved in May 2020 including coverage obligations: at least one of the 5 largest cities covered by 2022, all 5 by 2023 and main routes by 2025
  • 4-3.8 GHz frequencies assignment expected by year-end 2020
  • 700 MHz frequencies assignment expected before 2022

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 were expected to be awarded by year-end 2020 (depending on talks with Russia on interference issues in border areas). 700 MHz frequencies are expected to be awarded before 2022.

RRT in response to public reactions and the spread of disinformation on 5G, provided clarifications on the technology on its website.

At the end of May 2020, the government of Lithuania approved a draft plan for 5G. Drafted guidelines indicate that at least one 5G network should cover at least one of the national largest cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai or Panevezys) by 2022 and that at least one 5G network should be available in all 5 cities by 2023. Guidelines also introduced coverage obligations of all urban areas and main tranport routes and hubs (motorways, rail routes, airports) by 2025.

Main points

  • 5G strategy in September 2018
  • 700 MHz and 3.4-3.8 GHz auction expected on 29 June 2020. Rules include coverage obligations and spectrum
  • 26 GHz spectrum expected to be available by year-end 2020

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.

700 MHz/3.4-3.8 GHz

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

The auction of 700 MHz/3.4-3.7 GHz spectrum is expected by June 2020. In December 2019, the Prime Minister said that 50 MHz of spectrum will be added to the 280 MHz initially considered in the 3.5 GHz public consultation. ILR started to hold a consultation on the assignment procedure between 13 March and 10 April 2020. In July 2019, Luxembourg’s Department of Media, Telecommunications and Digital

Policy launched a call for projects involving 5G mobile communications or similar technologies, such as IoT or smart cities. The initiative aims to facilitate the emergence of innovative technologies and services, in line with the country’s National 5G Strategy. Projects should have a duration of between six and 24 months.

Assignment of the 700 MHz (703-733/758-788 MHz) and 3.4-3.7 GHz (3420-3750 MHz) bands is scheduled for 2020 in a SMRA Clock Hybrid single round sealed bid auction. Spectrum from 3.7-3.8 GHz will be considered separately. It is intended to be used by local applications.

Assignment rules were released in March 2020.

  • In 700 MHz frequencies, players cannot get more than 2×10 MHz. In 3400-3800 MHz frequencies, players cannot bid for more than 130 MHz. Licenses will be valid 15 +5
  • A reserve price has been set at 562 KEUR for 2×1 MHz in 700 MHz frequencies and at 30KEUR for 1 MHz of spectrum in 3400-3800 MHz
  • Licenses will include coverage obligations in both bands. In 700 MHz frequencies, players are expected to reach 50% geographical coverage by year-end 2022 and 90% geographical coverage by year-end They will have to light up 10 5G sites by year-end 2020, 20 5G sites by year-end 2021, 40 5G sites by year-end 2022 and 80 5G sites by year-end 2024 in 3400- 3800 MHz frequencies.


Category Band Lot Size # of lots Lot rating Reserve price
A1 700 MHz

(703-713 MHz

paired with 758-768 MHz)

2×10 MHz 1 4 € 5,626,000
A2 700 MHz

(713-733 MHz

paired with 768-788 MHz)

2×10 MHz 2 4 € 5,626,000
B 3600 MHz 40 MHz 5 4 € 1,200,000
C 3600 MHz 10 MHz 13 1 € 300,000

The 700/3600 MHz auction was completed in July 2020. four out of the five bidders have acquired 5G frequencies in the 700MHz FDD and 3600MHz TDD spectrum auction, paying a total of 41.3 million EUR (Players’ bids are not available). The 15+5 year-licenses include strict geographical coverage obligations for 700 MHz spectrum (50% geographical coverage by year-end 2022 and 90% by year-end 2024). In 3420-3750 MHz frequencies, players have to light up a minimum of 10 sites by ear-end 2020, 20 by year-end 2021, 40 by year-end 2022 and 80 by year-end 2024.

Orange, Post and Proximus were each awarded one of the three available lots of 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band.

In the 3600MHz band, Orange and Post each acquired 110MHz of frequencies, Proximus bought 100MHz and Luxembourg Online 10MHz. Eltrona participated in the auction but failed to secure spectrum rights.

26 GHz

The 26 GHz frequencies are expected to become available in the second half of 2020.

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
  • Publishing and commencing implementation of the National Spectrum Management
  • 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
  • Maintaining the compliance framework set at safeguarding a competitiveenvironment

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 July 2019, the MCA published an amended decision making available the entire 1427-1517 MHz band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in Malta. The decision follows a public consultation procedure undertaken between 27 December 2018 and 8 February 2019.

The MCA published, in July 2019, the latest edition of the National Frequency Plan. The key developments in the Plan include the harmonization of radio spectrum in the 874-876 and 915-921 MHz and the 1427-1517 MHz frequency bands for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services.

The regulator also published, in the same month, a draft of its five-year Radio Spectrum Policy Programme. The MCA opened a consultation for this paper until the 5th August 2019.

In August 2020, Melita applied for a 5G trial licence.

Main points

  • Connectivity Action Plan, July 2018.
  • In December 2018, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published a 5G paper “5G and the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets”.
  • Multi-band 700/1500/2100MHz completed in July 2020
  • 3400-3450 and 3750-3800 MHz intended for local use scheduled respectively for 2022 and 2026
  • 5G launch by T-Mobile and KPN in July 2020

In June 2019, the ACM released an updated spectrum plan for 5G. The telecom regulator intends to auction 700, 1500, 2100 and 3500 MHz. The 3500 MHz (3400-3450 MHz) is scheduled as from September 2022 and 3750-3800 MHz frequencies from 2026. The 3500 MHz auction is planned for 2022 as the band is currently used for satellite communications. Spectrum at 3400-3450 MHz and 3750-3800 MHz is intended to be made available for local use.

The use of the 26 GHz band is under consultation use of spectrum either for shared use or local authorizations from 2020. The consultation closed at the end of February 2020.

700/1500/2100 MHz

In December 2019, a public consultation was opened potential spectrum caps for 700/1500/2100 MHz spectrum and a reserve price that would raise at least 0.9 billion EUR. Licenses will include coverage obligations of 98% geographic coverage of all domestic municipalities. The auction itself is scheduled for June 2020. Applications are due before 6 April 2020.

The multi-band auction started on 29 June 2020. It raised 1.23 billion EUR. Each operator won 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band and 2×20MHz in the 2100MHz band. In the 1400MHz band, KPN and VodafoneZiggo bought 1×15MHz each and T-Mobile acquired 1×10MHz. Spectrum in the 700MHz and 1400MHz will become available immediately, the 2100MHz licences will be available from early 2021. Licences include coverage obligations of 98% geographic coverage of all domestic municipalities. Licenses which will be issued in summer 2020 will run until 2040. The auction was cleared by the Court of The Hague one day before the announcement by the regulator. A lawsuit had been launched by Stop5GNL to block 5G auctions and rollout blaming negative health effects.

3.6 GHz

The 3.6 GHz auction is planned for 2022 as the band is currently used for satellite communications. Spectrum at 3400-3450 MHz and 3750-3800 MHz is intended to be made available for local use.

Main points

• 5G Strategy for Poland, January 2018.
• 5G spectrum consultation, July 2018.
• A few trials to date.
• 3.4-3.8 GHz auction stopped in March 2020 due to covid-19, expected before year-end 2020. Licenses will be issued in 2020.
• 700 MHz auction expected in 2022
• 5G services launched by Polkomtel with 2.6 GHz spectrum in May 2020, by T-Mobile Poland early June 2020 in 2100 MHz spectrum, Orange plans 5G launch on 1 July 2020 on 2100 MHz frequencies.

700 MHz
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.

3.6-3.8 GHz

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.

The UKE decided, in late August 2019, to allocate 5G-capable spectrum in the 3.4GHz-3.8 GHz range via a competitive auction rather than a tender process.

In December 2019, UKE opened a consultation into its planned auction of four licenses in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band. The NRA indicated it wants to award the four licenses by mid-2020. The licenses will be valid until the end of June 2035. The proposed starting price for each block is PLN 450 million (103.4 million EUR).  The process kicked off in March 2020. Four lots of 80 MHz will be auctioned: concessions A (3480MHz-3560MHz) and B (3560MHz-3640MHz) will offer full nationwide coverage, licenses C (3640MHz-3720MHz) and D (3720MHz-3800MHz) will have geographic restrictions:


  • at least 10 base stations in the area of 1 voivodship city selected from the cities indicated within 4 months of receiving the licence;
  • until 31 December 2023, at least 300 base stations throughout the country, including at least 10 base stations in the area of each of at least 20 municipalities selected from the indicated municipalities, with the proviso that at least 9 voivodship cities will be selected;
  • until 31 December 2025, at least 700 base stations throughout the country, including at least 10 base stations in the area of each of at least 30 municipalities selected from the indicated municipalities, provided that at least 16 voivodship cities are selected.

The commitments were designed in a way to ensure network roll-out in the largest population centers, i.e. municipalities with more than 80,000 residents.

The auction was postponed from March to year-end 2020 due to covid-19. It is likely to take place in the first quarter 2021.

Main points

  • Multi-band auction (700/900/1800/2100/2600/3600 MHz) postponed in March 2020 due to covid and rescheduled for the second half 2020
  • 26 GHz auction expected in 2023

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).

In October 2019, telecommunications market regulator Anacom announced plans to hold an auction for six frequency bands including the 700 MHz band and 300 MHz of the 3.6 GHz band, between April and June 2020. Commercial usage is expected during 2020.

Early 2020, ANACOM launched a consultation on the upcoming multi-band auction including coverage and speed obligations of 100 Mbps for 85% of the population in 2023 and 95% in 2025. ANACOM also approved the draft rules for the auction with reserve prices as follows:


  • 700MHz; six lots of 2×5MHz (19.20 million EUR perlot)
  • 900MHz; one lot of 2×5MHz (30.00 million EUR perlot)
  • 900MHz; four lots of 2×1MHz (6.00 million EUR perlot)
  • 1800MHz; three lots of 2×5MHz (4.00 million EUR perlot)
  • 2100MHz; one lot of 2×5MHz (2.00 million EUR perlot)
  • 2600MHz; two lots of 2×5MHz (3.00 million EUR perlot)
  • 2600MHz; one lot of 25MHz (3.00 million EUR perlot)
  • 6GHz (with restrictions until 2025); six lots of 10MHz (840,000 EUR perlot)

The multi-band auction initially scheduled for sometimes between April and June 2020 was postponed due to the covid. It should take place in the coming months.


Early 2020, Anacom also modified spectrum held till August 2025 by DenseAir in the 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum. The amount of spectrum held will be reduced from 168 MHz to 100 MHz and relocated in the lower part of the band.

Main points

  • National Strategy for the Implementation of 5G in Romania
  • Multi-band 5G auction scheduled for the last quarter 2020 could be rescheduled for 2021
  • 5G launch by Orange in November 2019 and RC&RDS in June 2019

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.

700 MHz/1500 MHz/2600 MHz/3400-3800 MHz

In June 2019, ANCOM published plans to auction spectrum in 700 (703-733/758-788 MHz and 738-753 MHz SDL), 800 (2×5 MHz FDD), 1500 (40 MHz SDL), 2600 (2×40 MHz FDD), and 3400-3800 MHz (90 MHz TDD valid in the 2020-2025 period, and 400 MHz TDD valid form 2026) frequencies by the end of October 2019. In July 2019, a consultation was issued to discuss technical details of the auction process. Licences should be valid as from June 20th, 2020.

Romanian regulator released the draft terms of its 5G contest in August 2019. The procedure will include a first stage, in which operators can obtain frequency blocks for optional commitments, before a second stage (auction), which will allow candidates to obtain additional frequencies.

In November 2019, the auction was rescheduled to March 2020, the process was again postponed to Q4 2020 in March 2020. In September 2020, ANCOM’s head told the auction could again be delayed from the initial target of December 2019 and be rescheduled for 2021.

26.5-27.5 GHz

At least 1 GHz will be made available in the upper parts of the 26 GHz frequencies. The auction is expected in 2021.

Main points

  • 700/900/1800 MHz auction initially scheduled for June 2020 postponed to an unspecified date

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.

In June 2019, Slovakia launched a consultation on spectrum auctions methods for 700/800/900/1500 and 1800 MHz frequencies. 700 and 1500 MHz spectrum is primarily reserved for 5G services.

700 MHz (primarily for 5G)/900 MHz/1800 MHz

A consultation on the planned award of the 700, 900 and 1800 MHz bands was issued in December 2019.

In April 2020, Regulacny Urad (RU) invited applications for the multi-band 700/900/1800 MHz auction. In the 700 MHz band, spectrum 2×30 MHz is available broken down into 15 2×5 MHz blocks at a reserve price of 16 MEUR each. RU set a spectrum cap of 2×15 MHz by player in 700 MHz frequencies. No spectrum is finally not reserved for the fourth player in the market, SWAN Mobile. 700 MHz licenses will be valid for 20 years. 700 MHz licenses will be granted with coverage obligations of 95% of the population of every county town by year-end 2025 and 90% of the population outside county towns by 2027, with 70% of the country inhabitants covered by 5G by year-end 2027.

900 MHz spectrum will be sold with a reserve price of 840 KEUR for each 2×4.2 MHz block. Licenses will be valid six months after the auction.

1800 MHz spectrum will be sold in three 3 MHz blocks to be used within a year after the auction. Licenses will be valid till year-end 2025.

3.6 GHz band


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.

Main points

  • Consortium on 5G PPDR issues created in 2017
  • Multi-band auction for 700/1500/2100/2300/3600 and 26 GHz spectrum to take place by year-end 2020
  • Temporary licenses till the auction
  • Consultation on spectrum management strategy expected for 2021-2023
  • 6 GHz 5G launch by Telekom Slovenije in July 2020

In January 2017, the Slovenian Government and AKOS called for project applications for testing 5G. In the call, trial licences 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 few years. 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.

AKOS awarded trial licences in 5G pioneer bands until the public tender for auction:

  • in the band 3400-3800 MHz until 31 December 2020,
  • in the 700 MHz band until 30 June 2020,
  • in the 26 GHz band until the award is due, until 31 December 2019

In December 2019, AKOS delayed the launch of the planned multi-band auction to the second half 2020. The delay is due to a delay in adopting a, updated Radio Spectrum Management Strategy. The auction is scheduled for YE 2020. In May 2020, AKOS begun preparations for the auction.

Multi-band 700/1500/2100/2300/3600 and 26 GHz auction

The regulator plans to sell spectrum in all three 5G pioneer bands (700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz) at the same time by March 2021, alongside with 1500/2100/2300 MHz complementary spectrum.

Licence holders are expected to launch 5G in at least one city within one year after being awarded the licence and to use all frequencies within five years to cover all major cities. 700 MHz 5G service should also cover 99% of motorways and 60% of all train lines and main roads by December 2025.

AKOS introduced spectrum caps by frequency bands: 2×35 MHz in 700/800/900 MHz frequencies, 190 MHz in the 2.3/3.6 GHz spectrum, 800 MHz in the 26 GHz band and a global spectrum cap whatever the band: each bidder should not hold more than 425 MHz in 700/2100/2300/3600 MHz bands (including spectrum already owned in 800/900/1800/2600 MHz). AKOS also introduced special conditions for players holding less than 2×30 MHz in sub-1 GHz frequencies: they can provide speeds of at least  10 Mbps DL and 2 Mbps UL compared to at least 30 Mbps DL and 3 Mbps UL for players holding more than 2×30 MHz in sub-1 GHz frequencies.

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 initially scheduled for March and then for May 2020 postponed due to covid likely to the first quarter 2021
  • 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[1].
  • 5G launch by Vodafone on June 15, 2019, by Movistar, Masmovil and Orange in September 2020

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 and again postponed to the first quarter 2021 (700 MHz spectrum freed on 31 October 2020). 2×15 MHz spectrum caps were decided in July 2020.


5G timeline in Spain
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, 5G markets Europe, March 2020

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[1]”.
  • Trial licences 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 MHz in the 24.25-27.5 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.
  • The 2.3 and 3.5 GHz auction initially scheduled for March 2020 was postponed to 10 November 2020, with applications invited until 30 June 2020.
    • 320 MHz will be for sale in the 3.5 GHz band (3400-3720 MHz) in up to 15 licenses. One license will include 40 MHz of spectrum, the other 14 only 20 MHz. The reserve price is set at 100 MSEK (9.5 MEUR) per block. The 3720-3800 MHz portion will be made available on a local basis.
    • 80 MHz will be for sale in the 2300 MHz frequencies with 8 blocks of 10 MHz sold at a 20 MSEK (1.9 MEUR) reserve price.
  • PTS has opened up additional trial licences for 5G in 3.6GHz-3.8GHz, 3.8GHz-4.2GHz, 40.5GHz-43.5GHz, 45.5GHz-47.0GHz, 47.2GHz-48.0GHz and 66GHz-71GHz. Testing is already being carried out using 3.4GHz-3.6GHz and 26.5GHz-27.5GHz spectrum.
  • 5G launch by Tele2 and Telia in May 2020, by Tre in June 2020. Telenor expected to launch 5G in October 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. Updated in July 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 on July 3, 2019.
  • Launch of Three FWA 5G service on August 19th, 2019, of mobile 5G service on February 14th, 2020
  • Plans to auction parts of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum early
  • Consultation on human exposure to ElectroMagnetic Field Emissions (EMF). Tests failed to find health risks.
  • Consultation on 100-200 GHz frequencies
  • Publication of the rules of the 700 MHz (80 MHz of spectrum) and 3.6-3.8 GHz (120 MHz) auction in March 2020: total spectrum cap set per operator of 416 MHz, no coverage obligations for the 700 MHz spectrum, two stages (bidding, and assignment to determine the specific frequencies needed by players and enabling them to get contiguous blocs).


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 February 2020, the DCMS announced the winners of 35 MGBP (42 MEUR) funding to further help 5G deployment. The government also launched a 30 MGBP (36 MEUR) 5G competition for the creative industries. 9 projects will receive 35 MGBP from the rural and industrial 5G competitions and additional 30 MGBP from an open competition dedicated to creative industries, including film, TV and video games, logistics and tourism.

In July 2018, Ofcom decided to change the authorization approach for fixed wireless systems in the 64-66 GHz band to licence 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 licence 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 licence 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.


In June 2019, Ofcom issued a consultation on its proposals to allow defragmentation of the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band. Portions of the 3.4 – 3.6 GHz band were awarded in 2018, and the regulator plans to award the 3.6 – 3.8 GHz band in 2020.


In August 2019, the UK government issued a consultation on how it should implement the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). The consultation was closed on September 10.

In November 2019, OFCOM has issued a consultation til December 3, 2019 on draft statutory instruments that would support its local spectrum access and spectrum sharing policies.

In February 2020, Ofcom launched a consultation on human exposure to EMF. It proposes to add specific licence conditions requiring adherence International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines on EMF. These rules would apply to spectrum licence holders for equipment that transmits at more than 10 Watts, and operators of licence-exempt equipment that can transmit at these powers. A first EMF emissions measurement campaign in 16 cities in 10 cities across the UK concluded emissions were a small fraction of ICNIRP levels. The study covered emissions close at 3.4 GHz and 60 GHz.

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.

In December 2019, OFCOM asked for comments on its revised proposals for the auction design without coverage obligations.

In March 2020, OfCom published the rules of the 700 MHz auction. 80 MHz will be sold in six 2×5 MHz lots with a reserve price of 100 million GBP (110 million EUR) per lot and four 5 lots of 5 MHz SDL with a reserve price of 1 million GBP (1.10 million EUR) per lot. Licenses will not include coverage obligations.

The auction is expected early 2021.

3.4-3.8 GHz band

3400-3600 MHz auctioned in April 2018.

3.6-3.8 GHz

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. As a result, it plans to introduce spectrum sharing and open up spectrum (3800-4200/1800/2300 MHz) to private network operators and vertical industry players on a first-come first-serve basis. Spectrum sharing will also be introduced in the 26 GHz frequencies, but only for indoor services. In December 2019, OFCOM asked for comments on its revised proposals for the auction design without coverage obligations.

24 lots of 5 MHz of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum will be auctioned using a simultaneous multiple round ascending format. The reserve price is set at 20 million GBP (22 million EUR) per lot. This auction faces challenges from MNOs. O2 launched a legal claim against Ofcom for getting a larger chunk of spectrum. OfCom decided to delay the auction.

The auction has been postponed to early 2021.

26 GHz band

In July 2019, Ofcom published a document «Draft UK Interface Requirement (IR) 2105” defining the technical conditions for “Shared Access Indoor 26 GHz”.

5G timeline in the UK
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, 5G markets Europe, November 2019

Latest News in Europe

The 5G Greek auction raised 372.3 million EUR

The long-awaited multi-band 5G auction in Greece ended on December 16, 2020 after six rounds of bidding. It raised 372.3 million EUR just exceeding targets of 367 million EUR. The three current MNOs got spectrum in all bands for sale (700 MHz, 2 GHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz). Vodafone spent the most with 130.2 […]

Free Mobile launched commercial 5G services in France

The operator launched 5G at the price of 4G

Slovak Telekom launches 5G

The network is available in eight districts of Bratislava

5G commercial launches in France

Orange, Bouygues Telecom and SFR have launched 5G commercial services in France

Slovakia’s regulator auctioned 700 MHz spectrum

The sale raised 100.23 million EUR

HT launches 5G in Croatia

Hrvatski Telekom (HT) switched on Croatia’s first commercial 5G network

Completion of the Czech 5G auction in the 700 MHz and 3.4-3.6 GHz spectrum bands

The regulator stated five groups won spectrum, paying a total of 5.6 billion crowns (211 million EUR)

Telenor launches Sweden’s fourth 5G network

2.3GHz and 3.5GHz auction will begin on November 10

Vivacom launches first 5G network in Bulgaria

5G coverage is available in the central urban areas of all 27 biggest cities in the country

all news in Europe

Subscribe to our mailing list