Spectrum Newsletter – January 2024

08 January 2024 | Research

Grace Langham

Newsletter | PDF (14 pages) | Wireless Infrastructure Strategies


This edition of the Spectrum Newsletter for up to the end of September 2023 highlights the spectrum auction activity in four regions worldwide:

  • 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.

  • Guatemala.  On 12 September 2023, the Guatemalan 5G auction for frequencies in the 700MHz band closed. The auction process has been stalled several times due to changes in government as well as overhauls to regulatory frameworks. A total of 60MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band was auctioned, with the reserve price set at USD41.1 million per 20MHz of spectrum. Two operators acquired spectrum during the auction; Tigo (Comunicaciones Celulares) and Claro (Telecommunicaciones de Guatemala). Tigo paid USD41.1 million for 20MHz, while Claro paid USD82.2 million for 40MHz of spectrum. Spectrum licences are valid until 2042. 75% of the spectrum is set to support Guatemala’s National Digital Connectivity Plan, helping to reduce the digital divide within the country.
  • Sweden. On 21 September 2023, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) completed its 3 day auction for spectrum in the 900MHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands, after 26 rounds of bidding. Three national operators acquired spectrum including Telia, Hi3G and Net4Mobility, raising a total of USD380 million. Spectrum licences are valid from January 2026 with the 900MHz and 2.1/2.6GHz licences being valid until 2048 and 2050, respectively. Telia Sweden paid the most during the auction at USD139.2 million and acquired 2×15MHz in the 900MHz band, 2×20MHz in the 2.1GHz band and 2×30MHz in the 2.6GHz band. This was followed by Net4Mobility (Telenor/Tele2), which paid USD132.2 million for 2×10MHz in the 900MHz band, 2×20MHz in the 2.1GHz band and 2×30MHz in the 2.6GHz band. HI3G Access paid USD108.7 million for 2×10MHz in the 900MHz band, 2×20MHz in the 2.1GHz band and 2×10MHz (FDD) and 40MHz (TDD) in the 2.6GHz band.
  • USA. The ‘clock’ phase of Auction 110 (to assign spectrum in the 3.45–3.55GHz band) was concluded on 16 November 2021. Bidders won 4041 of the 4060 available generic blocks. An assignment phase will follow in which successful applicants will bid for specific frequencies.
  • Hungary. On 24 May 2023, the Hungarian regulator, the National Media and Infocommunications authority (NMHH), completed its spectrum auction for frequencies in the 32GHz band. 18 out of the available 24 duplex blocks of spectrum were awarded to Magyar Telekom, Vodafone Hungary and CETIN, raising USD27.9 million in total. Vodafone won ten blocks (a total of 560MHz), Magyar Telekom won 6 blocks (a total of 336MHz) and CETIN acquired 2 blocks (a total of 112MHz). Licences will be valid for 15 years until 23 May 2038 (with the possibility to extend once for a further 5 years).
  • Uruguay. On 9 May 2023, Uruguay’s regulator, the Communications Services Regulatory Unit (URSEC), published the results of its 5G spectrum auction in the 3.5GHz band, raising USD56.2 million in total. National operators, Claro and Movistar were the sole participants, where each acquired 1×100MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, paying USD28.1 million total. A 1×100MHz block of spectrum was also set aside for the state-owned incumbent Antel.
  • Saudi Arabia. On 16 September 2023, the Communications and Space and Technology Commission (CSSA) in Saudi Arabia announced that it will hold a spectrum auction on 16 October 2023 for frequencies in the 600MHz, 700MHz and 3800MHz bands. Applications to participant were required to be submitted by 24 September 2023. A total of 310MHz of spectrum will be auctioned. This includes 70MHz in the 600MHz band (two FDD blocks; 2×15MHz and 2×20MHz), 40MHz in the 700MHz band (one FDD block of 2×10MHz and one SDL block of 20MHz) and 200MHz in the 3800MHz band (two TDD blocks of 100MHz). Winners of the awarded spectrum must activate at least 500 base station sites through active sharing techniques (MOCN or MORAN) with other service providers before the end of 2025.


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