Spectrum Newsletter – June 2021
This edition of the Spectrum Newsletter, for up to the end of May 2021, highlights the 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 this period include the following.
- USA. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced, in February 2021, the winners of the C-band spectrum (3.7–3.98GHz) auction that was held between December 2020 and January 2021 (known as auction 107). The winners were AT&T, US Cellular, T-Mobile and Verizon; they spent USD23.4 billion, USD1.3 billion, USD9.3 billion and USD45.5 billion, respectively. DISH Wireless and C&C came away with almost nothing.
- USA. The FCC launched a consultation for a new auction for a further 100MHz in the 3.45–3.55GHz band (auction 110). The FCC proposes that bidding for this auction should begin in October 2021. The band is currently used by the Department of Defense.
- India. India’s telecoms regulator, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), held its long-awaited spectrum auction in early March 2021, targeting 4G use cases. The regulator obtained INR778 billion (USD10.7 billion) for spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz bands during the 2-day auction process. Spectrum in the 700MHz and 2500MHZ bands did not receive any bids due to the high reserve prices.
- UK. The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, unveiled, in April 2021, the winners of the 5G spectrum auction that was held earlier in the same month. The four major MNOs spent a total of GBP1.4 billion (USD1.9 billion) on 5G spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz bands. Ofcom had imposed a 416MHz cap on the total amount of spectrum that any operator could hold. This restriction mainly affected EE.