RATEL director has 2020 vision of 5G auction, but details are blurry

12 Jun 2019

Vladica Tintor, director of Serbia’s Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications & Postal Services (RATEL), has stated that the country should auction 5G mobile spectrum licences next year. Quoted by Blic Online, Mr Tintor stressed that Serbia would not rush to claim an early 5G launch as ‘citizens now have a good [4G mobile] service’ but declared nonetheless that RATEL will work alongside other state institutions to enable auction readiness for 2020. He added a cautionary note regarding network operators’ expectations of return-on-investment, reasoning that 5G licences should not be sold before cellcos are technically able to support 5G services, nor ahead of sufficient market demand for 5G. Regarding mass market mobile internet services, Tintor said: ‘With the fourth generation … we are at a quite satisfactory level and we are wondering what the end user gets with the fifth generation’, going on to highlight that the 5G business model differs significantly from previous technology generations with a widening of focus to encompass new industry segments, requiring operators to develop new infrastructure to support it.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in Q2 2018 Serbia’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism & Telecommunications (MTT) indicated plans to make airwaves in the 2.5GHz and 3.4GHz-3.8GHz ranges available for 5G services – with a speculative end-2019 readiness target – whilst the 700MHz band was also earmarked for a future 5G auction, although the latter range faced frequency harmonisation issues with neighbouring countries.