Friday, June 9, 2023

Previous 5G auction barely raised $36 million due to corporate indifference

The auction of the 26 gigahertz (GHz) frequency band, the last one free for 5G mobile telephony, lasted barely a few hours and resulted in a disappointing collection of 36.2 million euros, a far cry from the opening price of 56 million and even That’s more than the target of 100 million set by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone have been awarded 1,800 of the 2,400 megahertz auctioned in state blocks, while Valladolid company Globe Operator Telecom has grabbed Castilla y León’s frequencies.

Telefónica has acquired five national blocks of 1 GHz totaling 200 MHz, for the sum of 20 million euros, reaching the established limit. Orange and Vodafone have won two blocks each for eight million euros for each operator. The starting price of the auction was 56 million euros, with 12 national-level concessions worth four million euros each; and 38 autonomous concessions, the value of which was determined by population. Except for the Castilla y León block, the remaining autonomous blocks have been left blank. The duration of the concessions will be 20 years – extendable once for another 20 years – and spectrum blocks will be tendered, of the size of 200 megahertz (MHz).

The auction, included as a milestone in the recovery, transformation and resilience plan agreed with Brussels, was harshly criticized by operators, considering it premature, as not having a sufficiently mature technical team to develop the technology. Were. The companies requested to postpone it but the ministry did not agree. This is the fourth auction of frequencies for 5G networks in Spain after the 3.6 GHz band auctioned in 2018, the 20 MHz auction in the same band in February 2021 and the 700 MHz auction in July 2021. The latter, mainly due to the initial amount, the government also clicked on its objectives, as it was done in just two days from its launch due to low bidding, with a collection of 1,010 million euros, slightly up (1.5% more) Starting price of 995.5 million euros.

In these consultations, differences of opinion between operators and companies in other regions have become apparent, as is a range of frequencies in this band (between 24.25 and 24.70 GHz) that will be assigned non-exclusively for local uses. . Provisioning regime, which means that spectrum can be held by companies other than telecom operators. Major operators in the country have positioned themselves against holding this auction of the 26 GHz band this year, and have proposed postponing it to 2023 or 2024, until the technology to leverage it matures.

Industry is one of the sectors that will benefit the most from making this band available, as it is expected to be the one that will allow factories to launch their own private networks connected (leaving their own broadband away from general use). by separating). This regime, exemplified by the United States and Germany, guarantees companies greater cyber security and network availability. Being very high, the 26 GHz band can carry a lot of information, but it sends it over a limited distance, so it is suitable for deployment in areas where many equipment or people are concentrated, such as the aforementioned factories, or Airports and stadiums, for example.

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