Finland aiming to offer 5G spectrum in 2018 as FICORA confirms issuance of 13 trial concessions

25 May 2017

Finnish communications minister Anne Berner has indicated that frequencies between 3.4GHz and 3.8GHz could be put into use for 5G services in the country by 2019. The announcement comes in the wake of a seminar regarding 5G technology organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) and the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) earlier this week. In a press release following the meeting, Berner noted that rights to use such spectrum could be granted during 2018, with the minister also cited as saying: ‘When distributing the frequencies, in addition to the needs of the traditional mobile communications network operators, we should also pay attention to the needs of the new operators and the new local solutions required by them.’

Separately, the FICORA has confirmed that it has already granted ‘several different organisations’ a total of 13 radio licences for 5G testing, product development and experimentation, with these having been used to support, among other things, product development, propagation measurements, and testing of services.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2017 the FICORA confirmed it would support experimentation and testing by flexibly issuing radio licences for 5G trials. As per the regulator’s strategy it is issuing short term concessions for tests, research and trials of systems based on 5G radio technologies, with licence periods ranging from just a few days to years. With the European Commission (EC) having identified the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz and the 24GHz-27GHz bands, among others, as 5G pioneer bands in Europe, for regional 5G testing the FICORA is making available blocks of up to 100MHz in the former band (until the end of 2018), and up to 1,000MHz in the latter band, allowing high connection speeds and short latencies. Alongside these specific allocations, the regulator has also confirmed that is possible to receive licences for 5G testing in other frequency bands, with frequency needs ‘considered separately for each case and test environment’.