Israel has launched a sale process for spectrum suitable for 5G services, Reuters reports, with the government said to be hoping to attract bidders with discounts, as operator continue to struggle with the high levels of competition in the nation’s wireless sector.
According to documentation published by the Ministry of Communications (MoC), frequencies in the 700MHz, 2600MHz, and 3500MHz-3800MHz bands are to be made available, while it is understood that the authorities will offer financial incentives of up to ILS500 million (USD141 million), including an option for successful bidders to delay payment for a licence until 2022. Indeed, commenting on plans to assist would-be bidders in the sale process, Israel’s Communications Minister David Amsalem was quoted as saying: ‘We are aware of the companies’ current financial situation and the tender takes this into account.’ Meanwhile, with the MoC also offering to issue grants to operators that deploy at least 250 5G antennas, its deputy director general Ofer Raz-Dror noted: ‘We built the tender so it might not cost anything to the companies.’
It is expected that some operators will look to take part in the tender process via joint bids, rather than participating on an individual basis. In that vein, Golan Telecom is understood to have confirmed plans to bid alongside Celcom, while another rumoured pairing will be between HOT Telecom and Partner Communications. The MoC hopes to announce the winning bidders by the end of this year, with commercial launches expected to follow between 2020 and 2023.