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Spectrum Newsletter – February 2019

Roberto Kompany Senior Analyst, Research

This edition of the Spectrum Newsletter for the period up to February 2019 highlights spectrum auction activity worldwide in four regions.

Notable auctions during this period include the following.

  • Australia: In December 2018, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) concluded the 3.6GHz spectrum auction for 5G services. It released 125MHz of spectrum in the 3575–3700MHz band in 14 regions after several rounds of consultations to re-allocate incumbent operators to other spectrum bands. ACMA raised AUD853 million (USD613.7 million) for all 350 available lots, each 5MHz in size. Telstra, the largest bidder, paid a total of USD277 million for 143 regional spectrum lots, while the joint venture between TPG Telecom Vodafone Hutchison Australia, paid USD189 million for 131 lots and Optus paid USD133 million for 47 lots. Dense Air Australia, a new entrant, paid USD13 million for 29 lots.
  • Germany: The three main German mobile network operators (MNOs), Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone have launched legal challenges against the government’s announced 5G spectrum coverage obligations. The Federal Network Agency’s (FNA’s) demands that MNOs must provide 100Mbps to at least 98% of households in each state as well as main highways and railways by end of 2022 is viewed as unreasonable.
  • USA: Between November and December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) carried out a spectrum auction for the 28GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) band, which lasted 176 rounds and generated USD702.6 million for 850MHz of spectrum. However, the identity of the bid winners will remain private until the second set of auctions (for 24GHz planned for 14 March 2019) is completed. The FCC announced that it would make an additional 2400MHz of millimetre (mmWave) spectrum between the 37GHz and 39GHz bands available for auction in 2019.