Roberto Sanchez, director general of the Ministry of Economy and Enterprise (Ministerio de Economia y Empresa, MINECO), has informed the Spanish media that the auction of spectrum in the 5G-suitable 694MHz-790MHz (‘700MHz’) band will now take place in early 2020, rather than in the first quarter of 2019, as previously suggested.
The spectrum – referred to as the ‘second digital dividend band’ – is currently utilised for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services but will be freed up by March 2020. MINECO is keen to avoid a repeat of what happened with the 800MHz band, which was auctioned in 2011, but not actually made available to the winning bidders until 2015.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late October Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez announced that the government intended to stage an auction for 700MHz spectrum in the first quarter of 2019. The projected auction forms part of the government’s ‘Plan Nacional 5G’.