Radio spectrum auction support

Various market developments around the world have contributed to substantial increases in demand for radio spectrum for various types of wireless system in recent years, such as improvements in network architectures, leading to increasing availability and consumption of new wireless services, and increasing consumer demand for wireless data applications driven by a wider range of innovative devices and services.

For mobile broadband services in particular, the increasing availability of new data devices, as well as growth in the penetration of mobile services generally, is driving significant growth in data traffic, leading to a need for additional spectrum to support network growth.   Since mobile broadband services bring significant economic and social benefits to society, spectrum to support these services is in high demand.

While wireless operators are using various approaches to accommodate the rise in data traffic on their networks (for example, by deploying new technologies with improved data carrying capabilities per channel), there is a growing emphasis on enhancing the efficiency with which spectrum is used.  In parallel to this, acquisition of new spectrum when this is made available by regulators can be used to accommodate traffic growth, as well as to increase market penetration and deliver new services.

There are various methods that regulators can use to assign primary spectrum – typically based on either first come, first served approaches, beauty contests or auctions. Increasingly, auctions are being used as the most efficient means of primary assignment of spectrum – with secondary trading being implemented to enable re-distribution of spectrum once assigned through a primary process

Analysys Mason has provided advice to regulators and operators around the globe to prepare for upcoming spectrum auctions.

For regulators, we advise on allocation options for different frequency bands, strategies for marketing of available licences, valuation of spectrum and reserve price setting, as well as spectrum pricing and strategy for introduction of secondary market techniques such as trading.

For operators, we advise on spectrum strategy, bid strategy and spectrum valuation, including the three key aspects of value, which are technical value ( cost savings from use of new spectrum within existing networks), commercial (the use of spectrum to deliver new services and expand existing services) and strategic (the value of spectrum to particular bidders relative to competing operators in the market).

We have particular experience in the three major allocation and auction issues that regulators and spectrum users are facing in many world markets, which are the re-allocation of UHF spectrum (resulting from ‘digital dividend’ from the migration of analogue to digital terrestrial television, and auction of 700MHz/800MHz bands), 2G spectrum re-farming and/or reallocation of 2G spectrum upon licence expiry, and award of expansion bands for 3G and 4G services such as the frequencies available in the 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands. 

Noting that individual regulators are taking a variety of approaches to re-allocating and awarding new spectrum, we can tailor our approach to the specific strategic objectives of national regulators in different markets.  For operators, we also offer a range of modelling approaches to determine the relative value of spectrum bands with different characteristics (for example, low frequency spectrum versus high frequency spectrum).

In addition, we have in-house radio planning experts who are familiar with using a range of radio prediction tools, enabling us to model coverage, capacity and interference effects in different frequency bands, enabling us to consider factors such as those into the valuation of different spectrum. 

Within our Research Division, Analysys Mason’s Spectrum auction tracker provides granular, accurate details and analysis of concluded auctions and planned auctions of mobile and fixed wireless spectrum, reaching back to 2005. Data is provided in a fully searchable spreadsheet format, for use as a benchmarking and planning tool, and is updated quarterly.

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