The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has issued its final recommendation on the upcoming auctions of mobile frequencies in the 700MHz, 1400MHz, 2100MHz and 3.5GHz bands to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. A key recommendation is to set maximum percentages (‘caps’) for the amount of frequencies that a single party can possess, to maintain effective competition, as follows:
• a cap of 40% on the total frequency possession
• a cap of 40% on possession of frequencies below 1GHz ‘necessary to realise a nationwide network at reasonable costs’
• a cap of 40% on the frequencies to be auctioned in the 3.5GHz band ‘necessary to be able to offer a full 5G [service]’.
ACM does not consider it necessary to reserve space for a possible new fourth mobile operator within the frequencies to be auctioned. Auctions in the 700MHz, 1400MHz and 2100MHz bands are scheduled for the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020. A 3.5GHz band auction is expected (‘if possible’) at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.