AEC launches 4G tender for 790MHz-862MHz, 1710MHz-1880MHz blocks

14 May 2013

Macedonia’s regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has announced a public auction (No.0204-1550/2) for national mobile service licences in the 790MHz-862MHz and 1710MHz-1880MHz spectrum ranges, aimed at providing 4G LTE mobile broadband services. The 20-year licences are open to domestic and foreign companies, and will be valid from 1 September 2013 until 31 August 2033 with the prospect of extension. In order to qualify, interested parties have to already provide mobile services to at least 300,000 subscribers (as of 31 December 2012) and have combined revenues generated from telecommunication activities of EUR10 million (USD12.97 million) in 2011 and 2012. The winners of the beauty contest will have to provide the regulator with a six-year timetable plan within 45 days of bid approval. Under the licence requirements, the operators should offer mobile service to 20% of the population in two years after the licence issue date; in four years the coverage should reach 40% and in six years – 70% of the population.

All interested companies have to submit their bids in 45 days from the publication of the announcement in the Official Gazette. The AEC’s main criteria for determining the winning bids will be based on the economic value of the offers, with the official opening of the envelopes set for 24 June 2013. The decision to determine the qualified participants in the subsequent auction will be adopted within seven days. The auction itself will follow within 14-30 days of this decision (i.e. by mid-late July 2013).

The spectrum blocks on offer are as follows:

A: 791-801/832-842MHz (2×10MHz) and 1740-1755/1835-1850MHz (2×15MHz);

B: 801-811/842-852MHz (2×10MHz) and 1755-1770/1850-1865 MHz (2×15MHz); and

C: 811-821/852-862MHz (2×10 MHz) and 1770-1785/1865-1880MHz (2×15MHz).

The minimum bid values for the spectrum blocks are set as follows:

- Entire blocks A, B and C: EUR10 million each;

- Sub-blocks A1 to A5, B1 to B5 and C1 to C5 (see below): EUR2 million per sub-block.

Conditions regarding number of potential bidders/licensees were set as follows:

- A single bidder may win an entire block A, B or C, although there must be at least two bidders for the block;

- A single bidder may win up to two entire blocks from A, B or C, and may not bid for a third;

- Alternatively, bidding for sub-blocks A1 to A5, B1 to B5 and C1 to C5 may be carried out under certain conditions.

Blocks A, B and C may be split into sub-blocks as follows

A1: 791-796/832-837MHz (2×5MHz);

A2: 796-801/837-842MHz (2×5MHz);

A3: 1740-1745/1835-1840MHz (2×5MHz);

A4:1745-1750/1840-1845MHz (2×5MHz);

A5: 1750-1755/1845-1850MHz (2×5MHz):

B1: 801-806/842-847MHz (2×5MHz);

B2: 806-811/847-852MHz (2×5MHz);

B3: 1755-1760/1850-1855MHz (2×5MHz);

B4: 1760-1765/1855-1860MHz (2×5MHz);

B5: 1765-1770/1860-1865MHz (2×5MHz);

C1: 811-816/852-857MHz (2×5MHz);

C2: 816-821/857-862MHz (2×5MHz);

C3: 1770-1775/1865-1870MHz (2×5MHz);

C4: 1775-1780/1870-1875MHz (2×5MHz); and

C5:1780-1785/1875-1880MHz (2×5MHz).

North Macedonia, Agency for Electronic Communications (AEK)