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NMHH issues autumn 5G auction plan; Minister stresses state role in 5G rollouts

20 Jun 2019

Hungarian telecoms regulator the National Media & Infocommunications Authority (Nemzeti Media- es Hirkozlesi Hatosag, NMHH) has published its draft plan for a multi-band 5G spectrum licence auction scheduled for autumn 2019, proposing a total starting bid value of HUF84.5 billion (USD293.3 million). The following spectrum is up for grabs in the auction:

• 2×25MHz in the 700MHz band (708MHz-733MHz/763MHz-788MHz); in five 2×5MHz blocks; starting bid per block HUF5 billion

• 2×15MHz in the 2100MHz band (1965MHz-1980MHz/2155MHz–2170MHz); in three 2×5MHz blocks; starting bid per block HUF4 billion

• 1×15MHz in the 2600MHz band (2600MHz-2615MHz); in one 15MHz TDD block; starting bid HUF1 billion

• 1×310MHz in the 3600MHz band (3490MHz-3800MHz); in 31 10MHz TDD blocks; starting bid per block HUF1.5 billion.

Licences in the 3600MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz bands have immediate validity (aiming to support pilot 3.5GHz 5G launches by end-2019 and capacity increases for existing mobile networks) but 700MHz concessions are valid from September 2020 (due to the 700MHz band’s current usage by TV broadcasting). All licences expire on 6 September 2034, extendable by five years without tender.

The NMHH holds an in-person auction consultation on 3 July, with all comments on its draft plan expected by 8 July to enable it to finalise the plan ‘by the end of autumn’. The watchdog notes that the auction meets the obligations of the European Electronic Communications Code (Article 54) stipulating facilitation of 5G deployment in the 3400MHz-3800MHz band by end-2020, and also Decision 2017/899 of the European Parliament/Council (May 2017) obliging EU member states to put measures in place by 30 June 2020 to support the launch of wireless broadband services in the 694MHz-790MHz band.

Minister: ‘The state must play a role in building 5G networks’

In a separate announcement this week, Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology Laszlo Palkovics told the 5G Coalition plenary session and conference in Budapest that the government must play an active role in the construction of 5G networks. The 5G Coalition – established in 2017 by government institutions, companies, business chambers, universities and professional and civic organisations – is expected to finalise its 5G strategy for official adoption next month; the appointment of a government commissioner to coordinate 5G developments is one of the key policy proposals. According to the Minister, the first pilot 5G services should launch in Q3 2019, whilst ‘high capacity services’ using the 26GHz band are expected to be available from 2020 (including commercial 5G launches in industrial facilities – with dedicated frequencies reserved for industrial companies and institutions including universities, potentially in the 26GHz and 2300MHz bands). Palkovics added that by 2025 all major cities and major transport routes in Hungary will be covered by 5G.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that via Hungary’s 26GHz spectrum auction in April 2012, 15-year licences were won by Magyar Telekom, Vodafone, Telenor, GTS Hungary (now part of Magyar Telekom), and subsequently MVM Net (after a transfer of part of another company’s spectrum).

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