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Spectrum Newsletter – June 2019

Roberto Kompany Senior Analyst, Research

This edition of the Spectrum Newsletter for March–June 2019 highlights spectrum auction activity worldwide in four regions:

  • the Americas (Latin America (LATAM) and North America (NA))
  • Asia–Pacific (emerging Asia–Pacific (EMAP) and developed Asia–Pacific (DVAP))
  • Europe (Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Western Europe (WE))
  • the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Notable events in the period include the following.

  • Canada: In April, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada completed the auction of 70MHz of spectrum in the 600MHz band for USD2.6 billion after 54 rounds of bidding. 104 of the 112 available licences were awarded. In each service area, the regulator divided the 70MHz of spectrum into 10MHz blocks, and 30MHz was set aside for local providers.
  • China: The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) converted the previously issued 5G trial spectrum licences into full commercial 5G licences for all three incumbent mobile network operators (MNOs) and the new entrant China Broadcasting Network (CBN). The MIIT expects that the free licences will lead to significant investments from both the MNOs and other businesses, and will therefore stimulate the economy.
  • Germany: The auction process lasted 52 days with a record 497 rounds of bidding, despite some challenges from the MNOs. The German regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) raised a total of EUR6.5 billion (USD7.3 billion) for spectrum in the 1900MHz, 2100MHz and 3.5GHz bands. The regulator reserved 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band for industry use. The average price per MHz per member of the population for the 2100MHz and 3.5GHz bands was USD0.13 and USD0.10, respectively.
  • Japan: The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) allocated 5G spectrum in the C-band and the millimetre-wave (mmWave) band to the existing MNOs (KDDI, NTT Docomo and SoftBank) and the new entrant (Rakuten Mobile). However, several conditions were put in place including coverage obligations, investment commitments and an agreement to address network security concerns. Both KDDI and NTT Docomo obtained 200MHz of C-band spectrum, including 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band and 100MHz in the 4.0GHz band. SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile obtained just 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band each. All four MNOs obtained 400MHz in the 28GHz mmWave band.
  • USA: In May 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) completed its second set of mmWave spectrum auctions, this time covering the 24GHz band (known as auction 102). 700MHz of spectrum was available in the 24.25–24.45GHz and 24.75–25.25GHz bands, broken into 100MHz slots. A total of USD2 billion was spent by the bid winners at this auction. The price paid per MHz per member of the population was USD0.018.