Digi Hungary joins Vodafone in 5G race using existing spectrum

21 Nov 2019

Digi Hungary and Ericsson are carrying out live network 5G testing in Budapest using a 20MHz frequency block in an existing 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band spectrum allocation which Digi has held since 2016. Digi mobile users in possession of a compatible device can test the 5G network section in the proximity of the operator’s headquarters in the capital, while additional 5G base stations will be tested over the next few months.

Digi meanwhile remains excluded from the country’s 5G licence auction, while the telecoms regulator NMHH has not yet elaborated on its reason for rejecting the firm’s application to bid for new frequencies – having simply indicated that it ‘did not meet eligibility criteria’. When asked by the Budapest Business Journal about the reasons behind the exclusion, the NMHH Communication Directorate said: ‘According to the General Administrative Procedure Act, the authority may not disclose details of the procedure to any third party, only the client or interested party. There are two reasons for this: on one hand, the procedure is still ongoing and, on the other hand, the decision about the exclusion is not a resolution (not a decision on merits) and is therefore not subject to the disclosure requirement. Of course, an unregistered service provider has the right to seek legal help through a suitable forum.’ Digi is yet to confirm whether it is following through with its threat to launch legal action against the NMHH over the matter.

Hungary’s other existing holder of 5G-suitable 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band spectrum, Vodafone, already allows users to access 5G mobile data services via several live base stations in Budapest. As reported by the BBJ and HWSW, all customers with a Vodafone ‘RED’ tariff and a capable device can use the new 5G network at no additional charges to their existing package, with two suitable handsets so far available at Vodafone outlets, namely the Huawei Mate 20X 5G and the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. Vodafone claims peak download speeds of 150Mbps-600Mbps in 5G coverage zones although dependent on reception conditions and network congestion levels.