Even with all the discontent that the 5G auction regulation has generated among operators, with many criticisms and threats of freezing investment and recourse to the courts, the auction of fifth generation mobile licenses is moving forward with positive signs.
The first phase, reserved for operators that are not yet in the Portuguese market, generated more interest than expected and the tenders continued for 8 days, ending this week, on January 11, and reaching the value of 84 million euros. euros, highlighting the frequencies of the 1800 MHz bands, where the value of the lots more than quadrupled in relation to the initial price of 4 million euros and reached a total of 54.351 million euros.
At 900 MHz, the value has always remained at 30 million euros for the 2 lots of 5 MHz available, which does not allow us to understand whether these were auctioned or if there was no interest.
Main phase of the 5G auction with the largest number of lots and spectrum and broadening of bands
Today the main phase of the auction kicks off, information that is not public but that SAPO TEK confirmed with the communications operators that will participate in the process. Anacom informed the operators on Tuesday that the bids started today, January 14, on the platform that was chosen for the procedure. At the end of the day, the result of the several rounds must be revealed, the only information that Anacom officially discloses to the market, complying with the rules stipulated in the auction.
It is not yet known who the operators who participated in the first phase were, nor which lots bid, but in the main phase the spectrum lots available are more extensive, and it is anticipated that there may be a greater volume of rounds.
MEO, NOS and Vodafone confirmed their participation in the auction, where they can bid from 700 MHz to 3.6 GHz bands to be applied in the provision of 5G services. In total, the price fixed for the set of lots available is 237.9 million euros, including all spectrum bands.
For 700 MHz, Anacom plans to allocate six lots of 2 x 5 MHz worth 19.20 million euros each, totaling 115.20 million euros. For the 3.6 GHz band, it is considered that 40 lots of 10 MHz will be available for a total value of approximately 45 million euros.
It is not yet known what the operators’ bidding strategy, which will have to comply with demanding obligations to cover the national market, but those responsible for the engineering area of telecommunications companies have been mentioning that it is necessary to have at least 100 MHz in the band taller than you can move forward with a “lame 5G”. According to experts, it will be important to have at least 10 MHz in the low band, 700 MHz, and 100 MHz in the high band, 3.6 GHz.
After the general bidding, consignment follows, with the geographic location of the lots won, and the allocation of rights to use the licenses. According to the updated timetable for the 5G auction, the procedures are expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2021.